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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sweet Potato, Green Peas and Tofu Curry

Ingredients: firm tofu, green peas, sweet potato, coconut milk, curry paste and yellow curry

Hybrid Eyeglasses - Sunglasses in One

In 2 months, I am now eligible to get a new prescription eyeglasses again, and this time, I will now see to it that I will only have one eyeglasses and sunglasses. My prescription eyeglasses is for reading, and I thought before I do not need it for outdoors. However, vision is so inversely proportional to age, that these days, I could not even see the settings in my camera. I found I need to wear my eyeglasses outdoors. I would wear two glasses, but I find it a little bit inconvenient. I hope I could get one which is good enough for outdoors, and also indoor. Maybe, a hybrid, and of course, should be transition eyeglasses/sunglasses and maybe, a progressive lens.

Being in the outdoors however, would mean, I would have to take extra care of my eyeglasses because of the exposure to harsher elements, such as wind, dusts, etc. Thankfully, I found glasses scratch repair online, where I could bring my eyeglasses for scratch repair. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Seafood Medley

Had been craving for seafood pasta the past few days, so I finally prepared one last night. Now, I feel like I've been to seafood heaven. :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Music: Food for the Brain

Many studies have shown that music benefits the health of our brain. Listening to music process so many areas in our brain. I myself could attest to the benefit of music in my critical thinking. When I was younger and was working hard on solving problems, I do better when I have music around me. When I take exams, I used to hum or sing softly when I think so hard and so deeply. Until, I learned to hum and sing quietly, in my mind, because I understand my humming may distract other students in the classroom who need to ace the exams too. Though I never was good in music, but music has been my partner in quieting my mind, in releasing stress, and in seeing solutions to problem solving.

It is not a surprise to me therefore to see music industry thriving. Music inspires. Research have shown also that music training significantly improves motor and reasoning skills. Thus, for a lot of parents, giving their child access to music education and training, is not a luxury, but of importance, for they know the role of music in the mental development of their kids. Thus, when I saw one of my friends sharing some of her "must" buy items for her kid, such as fishman tripleplay wireless midi pickup, I perfectly understand why. Her child is very interested in music, and she sees the connection of music to the academic achievement of her child, excelling in critical thinking classes.

A Las Vegas Vacation

 Las Vegas at Night
 What Las Vegas Vacation Is During the Day

The two pictures above are the contrasting activities one can find in Las Vegas. Though maybe, for most tourists who go to Las Vegas, they simply stay in the strip, unknowing of the mind boggling desert landscapes that awaits them, to be explored. 
 Petroglyphs at Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Monday, January 27, 2014

Teaching Kids Good Health Habits

It's never too early to start teaching your kids good health habits. The habits you teach them today could carry on into adolescence and adulthood and help keep them at a healthy fitness level. Here are a few tips on helping your child develop a healthy lifestyle that will last their whole life long.

1. Remember You Are Their Role Model

Don't forget, they're watching you. If you encourage them to stay active and eat right, but you don't do it yourself, they're likely to conclude it's not important and the habits won't stick. Working together with your child to build a healthy lifestyle is something you can do as a family, encouraging each other.

2. Encourage Activity

Children should be getting at least an hour of active play a day, although that doesn't have to be all at once. This can include all kinds of physical activity, like climbing trees, playing basketball, or, for the kids who are more inclined to play video game, active games like Wii Fitness or Just Dance.

3. Eat Healthy

Not sure where to start with healthy eating? You can replace sugary snacks with healthier ones, like fruit. Don't let your child skip breakfast - make sure they eat something in the morning. Include a vegetable of some sort with every meal. Another thing to consider is that if you and your family aren't generally healthy eaters, chances are your child is lacking some vitamins, so consider getting some Nature's Plus children's vitamins to help make up for those deficiencies.

Encouraging physical activity and healthy eating will help children develop smart habits that will help them stay healthier, keep their weight under control, and lower their risk of health problems like heart disease and diabetes. As a parent, helping them get and stay healthy is one of the most important things you can do for them.

My First Post Using Mobile phone

These beautiful yellow flowers are desert dandelions which I photographed using my cell phone camera at Mojave National Preserve, CA last April 6, 2011 which was Bethchay's birthday, one of The Salitype Society sisters. Yellow is Chay's favorite color, and since we were on vacation, I decided instead to send her the freshest beautiful bouquet of wildflowers I found from our hike through cell phone that time. How technology has evolved these days, making communications and sending thoughts easier. And this time, I am testing how to post in my blog through my cell phone. I was used to do mobile Facebooking before whenever I was in the bus, but now that I have no Facebook, I looked at blogging while in the bus. And this is my first try, hope this works. Mobile blogging, here I come?

Now, you may ask. How did I send this post to this blog through my cell phone? I will share the step by step process later when I get the chance, however, for those who have the time to play around and read, here is the link to the instructions from blogger, How Do I Post Via Email, which is easy enough!

 Enjoy blogging, whenever you have the free time, whether at home, or on the road!!

Good Grades In Exchange of Musical Instruments Upgrades :)

Life can be stressful sometimes. Thankfully, there is music to ease the complication and stress. :) Listening to music really is very soothing and pacifying. Sometimes, I would walk to our neighborhood town center to listen to music played by local artists, most of them very young, kind of probably training themselves for the big audience. I once was invited by my student, since he loves playing guitars and play gigs in the local town plaza. It's a joy listening to them, teens with so much dreams. Their dreams make them study harder and do better at school since they know that's how they for now fund their dreams. They could buy necessary musical instruments and maintenance items such as instant lofi junky for now through their parents when they get very good grades, haha! Aside from doing their best at school, they do also their best in improving their musical performance, since they also get some money from people who would donate to them during a performance. :)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Simple But Heart Healthy Meal

Bittermelon, Okra and Eggplant ( before cooking )
Enjoying The Vegetables Above with Rice

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good Windows 8 Phones

Microsoft has been working its way into the smartphone market for the last couple of years, trying to cement its position as the third major platform available (overlooking the minor players like Blackberry, Firefox, Sailfish, etc.).

It has made some major advances in its latest iteration, Windows Phone 8. This has been coupled with the release of some very nice devices. Most notable are the devices coming out of Nokia, most likely because they are also owned by Microsoft. This hardware/software compatibility provides a smooth experience for the user, much in the vein of the iPhone.

For this reason, Nokia also dominates the Windows Phone market. Unlike Apple, however, Microsoft is not keeping their operating system limited to their own phones. Vendors such as HTC, Samsung and Huawei are currently making Windows phones as well.

Windows phones are a nice alternative for those not already familiar with smartphones. For those with some experience, the over simplistic and limiting UI may be frustrating. But, for those familiar with Windows 8, it will seem to be a comfortable transition.

Windows Phone does not share anything close to the number of apps available for Android and iPhones, but this may change as it grows more popular and becomes more widely available. It also is a little more customizable than the iPhone, though it is far from the “anything goes” open source approach of Android.

That being said for all of them, here’s a brief breakdown of some of the best Windows phones currently available. Also to be noted, is that Windows 8 does not require as much power to run as Android, so lower specs don’t necessarily reflect poor performance.
  • HTC Windows Phone 8SComes with a 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM. 4GB of internal storage can be expanded up to 32GB through microSD card slots. 5MP rear camera, no front camera. 4 in Super LCD Gorilla Glass Display with 480x800 resolution. High connectivity options are available with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G and GPS, and a microUSB port. Overall not an amazing phone, but a good mid-range value at about £250.
  • Nokia Lumina 625 – Great 4G budget phone at about £189 (PAYG). Stocked with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 512 MB RAM. 5MP rear facing camera with an LED flash and a VGA front facing snapper. 8GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot
  • Nokia Lumina 1020 – Not the cheapest phone available (around £600), especially for most of its feature. However, it is worth mentioning for the camera alone. 1.5 GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM. 32GB and 64GB(limited availability) of storage. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and 4G LTE support. The 41 MP camera with Xenon flash is probably the best on the smartphone market, almost making this more of a camera with a phone than the other way around.
  • Nokia Lumina 720 – As its name, or rather, number suggests, Nokia and Microsoft developed a very sturdy mid-level phone with the Lumina 720. It is bigger, and built better than the 520 and 620, and comes in at a price much less than the 920 and 820 at about £200-250. 1 GHz dual-processor with 512MB of RAM. 5MB internal storage, expandable to an additional 64GB. 4.3 in IPS screen with a resolution of 480x800 is adequate. Nice 6.7 MP rear camera and 1.3 MP front camera together shoot 720p video. Connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS and NFC, but unfortunately, no 4G capabilities.
  • Nokia Lumina 1520 – This phone is the definition of a ‘phablet’ with its 7 inch screen falling right between the largest phones and smallest tablets. The large format unfortunately comes with a large price - £873 on Nokia’s site, but cheaper elsewhere. But the huge screen is full HD with excellent viewing angles. There is also a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, matching any Android’s power. 36GB internal storage can be enhanced with up to 64GB microSD cards. The 20MP front camera takes excellent photos and can shoot full HD 1080p video, while the rear camera is limited to 720p video.

Kitchen, the Heart of the Home?

Is kitchen the heart of the home? Hmmmm, tough question to ask. But if you ask me which part of the house do I go as soon as I arrive home after work, then, the answer to that is the kitchen. Obviously, when I get home, am hungry! No, make that HUNGRY!! Perhaps, that is the very reason that my favorite kitchen appliance, well, if you call that an appliance, haha, is Blendtec.
Why? Because it is the fastest food maker for me. In an instant, I have something to fill my stomach, as I prepare for our dinner and lunch the next day. 
As soon as I get home, I would put some fruits inside the blendtec, and in an instant, I have a filling and healthy food and drink in one. After making my fruit or fruit blended with some vegetable smoothie or whole juice, I would have the energy then to prepare dinner. After making dinner, I would put some foods first in lunchboxes, because you get it right, our dinner and lunch the next day is usually the same, haha! Poor us, I have no time to cook two different meals. :)

So, even if kitchen may not be the heart of the home, but one thing is for sure, it is the place where the body, heart, and mind gets nourishment!!! Understandably, most of our home upgrades, also revolve around the kitchen. No, not major upgrades, just little ones. Just to make life in the kitchen, A LOT MORE NOURISHING!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Combi Boiler Coverage For Your UK Home

The most popular type of boilers used for central heating and hot water for domestic purposes in the UK are the Combi boilers. They are easily installed, economical to run, and simple to use. Combi boilers heat water only when a hot water pipe or shower is on. This will ensure that it gives maximum efficiency.

With a combi boiler, the need of a space for waste water storage cylinders or storing a tank is not necessary. The hot water is available in your pipe at the same pressure as that from the main. Your shower can be done with high water pressure without the use of, or need for a water pump.

A combi boiler coverage will take care of the cost of repairs and services to your heating system and boiler for a monthly amount. If there is a problem with either, it can be repaired by a qualified engineer as the parts, labour, and call out are already covered. Combi boiler coverage are available in two types:


  • Boiler and controls coverage
  • Complete heating system coverage

There are also boiler coverage plans that can be had at an additional cost and allows you to add an extra cover for electric, drain, and plumbing. Plans that cover only the boiler includes the repair of your boiler and the controls if it becomes faulty. It can include maintenance, service, and checks that are conducted annually. If this is not included, it can be added as an extra and should include parts, labour, and call out.

If you have full central coverage for your boiler, it should include the repairs and maintenance of the boiler and controls, as well as additional parts for the boiler system. This should include the radiator, the flue, and the pumps. As well as, labour, parts, and call outs. With all of this, you can also add regular safety checks and service.

Combi boiler coverage reduces the hassle of having to find people to repair your boiler if you have an emergency. It also reduces the time that you are left without the use of your boiler. Faults with the central heating can have an expensive repair cost and present a problem to find a repairer. Having boiler coverage can give you the assurance that your problem will be resolved in a short time.

Your boiler coverage can vary and may not include a repair cost for buildup of scale or  damage to your boiler. Many boiler coverages gives you unlimited coverage and unlimited claims for every year. Other types have a financial limit and particular number of call outs for each year. Choosing the right type of coverage for your boiler is hugely dependent on the amount of risks that you are willing to take.

If the boiler is a newer one, then it is ok to choose a basic coverage. If it is an older one, then a full coverage would be better to protect your investment.

Be sure to compare the Combi boiler coverage with The Heat Team before you choose any one plan.

About the Author:
Lexi writes for http://www.theheatteam.co.uk/

Monday, January 20, 2014

2nd OOTD post: Dressing for Temperature Changes in the Classroom

Outfit Of The Day: In the Classroom

After this post, probably you'd understand why Californians would complain 50's F ( 10s C ) is cold! :) Haha!

It's pretty much like the weight. A glass of water, and a gallon tank of water. You raise a glass of water for a few seconds, it does not feel heavy at all. You hold a gallon of water, and you say, "ouch! too heavy!" However, if you raise a glass of water for hours, your arms would suffer from pain from holding the weight. Pain is not only due to weight, but the length of time holding it. Similarly, hypothermia results not only from temperature but length of exposure.

This was the winter classroom scenario then when I was still teaching in the frozen tundra of CT: 

1. Leave apartment wrapped in  super warm coats.
2. Inside classroom, take off coat, and be in regular dress. 

A lot of my students would just be in t-shirt and some just in shorts and tees. After all, we were in the comfort of a heated room, just like in homes.

When I was still teaching in Connecticut, where winter is harsh, I did not really complain about being cold. Why? The classrooms were heated. Though it was below freezing in temperature sometimes, but I did not stay long enough outside in that temperature without appropriate clothing. If simply going to work, or going shopping, the car was heated, the school is heated, the mall is heated, the apartment is heated.

Now, in San Diego, where the high temperature is 60s- 70's year round ( on average anyway ), this is the winter classroom scenario :

1. Leave house in light warm clothing.
2. Continue wearing light warm clothes inside classroom, and if it is worse, add thermal inside ( I always have spare, since it is very light and does not take space ).

Most of my students are in their hoodies, or some other jackets.

One very common scenario when we have new students that come from colder places is that they come to school with their tees and jeans, or maybe tees and shorts. Then, they complain about cold, and ask me if I could please turn the heat on. I would inform the student that we do not have heater. And the other students would ask the student who asked for heater, "why won't you put your sweater on?" And the other student would reply, "I don't have one right now! I did not know that here in freaking California, you DO NOT USE HEAT AT ALL!"

A lot of people are deceived by the the 60s-70s year round average temperature. They are only seeing the average high year round, not the average low.  But as soon as the sun sets, the temperature drops, to 50s, continue dropping to 40s, then, to 30s. When I leave for work, temperature is usually in the 40s (below 10 degree Celsius). However, when I reached my classroom, the room may even be colder than outside, in the 30s ( yes, close to freezing temperature in the morning). Why? We do not have heat in the classroom, which had turned to cold during the night, and warming is later of the day ( afternoon), when school is about to end.

Most coastal California classrooms do not have heater and a/c in the classrooms. No heat for winter, no a/c for summer. State budget for heat and air is always prioritized to inland schools, where weather is harsher.

So, when I was still in Connecticut, I wore just a regular dress inside a heated classroom, or just blouse and pants. Ironically, here in warmer San Diego, I have to wear light sweater or light coat inside the classroom. Classrooms have no heat. Exposure to 40s and 50s is for hours and hours, not just a few minutes. It's like holding a glass of water for hours. The high, 60s or 70s is hardly reached in my classroom being shielded mostly from sun. Besides, the high temperature usually occurs mid-day or afternoon, and that is the time we leave school. School starts very early in the morning.

But I do not mind dressing up for changes in temperature in the classroom, since it means we spend less money on energy and we are not too cold enough to need heater. Most of all, we can spend a VERY LONG TIME OUTSIDE because the outside temperature day time is better than inside. :) Outdoor fun and nature wandering goes on.

So, here is a sample of classroom ootd for the changes in temperature in the classroom. 
And by mid-day, or afternoon, when classroom warms up, coat is finally removed! 

I do not always wear dress in the classroom, since somehow, students respond better when they see a variety. :) Not too professional all of the time, not too casual either all of the time. For some reasons, somehow, "familiarity breeds contempt" even in appearance, haha, that students respond more cooperatively, and shows a lot more motivation towards learning when they are treated with surprises in appearance. :)

~OOTD:~
Dress: Max Studio
Shoes: Nine West
** I have to make shoes more comfortable for standing almost the whole day by using customized orthotic insole **
Coat: Forever 21

OOTD for 2 seasons in one day......

winter and spring, in the winter.
But I love it, for there is no "real winter"! But we're still close enough to the mountains if we want winter outdoor activities.

Next ootd: summer and spring in winter, with snorkeling after work

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Over a Plate of Fish Paksiw, Adobong Kangkong and Sea Food Sinigang

Adobong Kangkong and Fish Paksiw
Whenever we have non-Filipino guests at home, my husband would always ask me to prepare "adobong kangkong (swamp cabbage cooked in garlic, onions, soy sauce and spicy vinegar)" , "fish sinigang (fish tamarind soup in vegetables)", "monggo(mungbean) with vegetables", and any other Filipino foods that he loves and he is proud to let our guests taste. 
Fish and Shrimp Sinigang ( Fish and Shrimp Sour Soup in Tamarind and mixed Veggies)

Now, if probably we were in the Philippines, these foods may not be considered special at all that you will hardly see these kind of dishes served in a gathering, especially if you have special guests coming. Thus the common reaction from our guests who have been served with what deemed to be the "special Filipino foods" or more popular Filipino foods are: "I did not know that Filipino foods are so healthy and yummy! I have always thought Filipino foods are greasy, loaded with cholesterol, and anytime can bring me to hospital for hypertension! The adobong kangkong is a heavenly treat to the palate!!" 

So maybe our household is a little bit different. Whenever we have non-Filipino guests at home, we do not impress our guests with gourmet cuisine. Instead, we serve them mostly vegetables cooked the Filipino way. "Adobong kangkong" is always a hit. Actually, some of my co-teachers would always ask me to make them adobong kangkong. One of my colleagues told me she never has liked eggplant, until she has tasted my eggplant. Now, she buys eggplant a lot, and cooked it my way, over soy sauce and vinegar. :) Actually, most of the time, I will cook bittermelon omelette too just to find out how they would respond to the taste since I know bittermelon requires acquired taste. Unlike adobong kangkong which is always received with much gusto, the bittermelon always get just an "okay" response, or "not so crazy about it". Kangkong makes them crazy that I would have to write down always the recipe. 

Over these kind of foods on dining table, time of eating is usually extended and conversation extends from simple recipe sharing, health conditions, to personal history. It is always interesting to observe how conversation shifts from one topic to another :) 

Dining with family and friends over a plate of fish paksiw, adobong kangkong, and sinigang over steamed rice, always is a BIG HIT!

Retirement and Senior Housing Software

Are you prepared for retirement?

Sooner or later, all of us will eventually retire from the busy life and just let time to pass us by. Most people who are in the prime of their lives now have probably observed how the seniors and retirees live their lives in the present. These observations will somehow influence the preparations and plans that they have for the future. Ideally, most people want to stay with their own family when they retire but unfortunately, with the lifestyle that most people have right now, this seems to be unattainable and most hard for the elderly to cope.
 Golf Courses Are Usually Incorporated in Retirement Communities
Another fact is, as people’s age increases, their health also worsens, thus the importance of finding health insurance. Senior citizens have mental, physical, and emotional needs that should be catered to which the family members couldn’t attend to because they are occupied with their own lives and mostly busy preparing for their future too. Most seniors do not want to burden their family financially and physically, thus they prepare for their retirement very well. With the help of a senior housing software, seniors are able to manage their lives more independently. Independent living communities are for retirees who want to live independently and enjoy the companionship of people who are their contemporary and also those who pursue the same hobbies and enjoy the same sports. 
 Retirees who have physical disability can also choose to live in assisted living communities. This kind of community not only provides the senior citizens housing but also have medical facilities and personnel to assist or supervise them daily. Retirees can enjoy the independence, companionship of their contemporary, avail the assistance of medical personnel in case of sickness or accident, make use of the medical facilities and have nursing care in the event that the retiree’s mental and physical health degenerates.

Choosing the right retirement community will make every retiree’s golden years enjoyable and make every single day worth living.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When You Give, You Receive Back a Hundredfold

**disclaimer: this post is not intended to boast my blogging income, but hopes to share a  blogging down moment I had about 2 months ago, which turned later to be an inspiration, confirming and strengthening my belief that -
"All Things work for the good for all of those who love God, who have been called to His purpose."- Romans 8:28

About 2 months ago, the balance in my paypal went to almost zero from a little over the amount it has now ( picture at the bottom )! My paypal balance is from my blogging, and an almost zero balance never happened since I don't know when. I do not withdraw any of my paypal money which I earn from blogging, except when I pay for the tuition of my 2 adopted scholars in the Philippines and when I contribute to adopted charities of my choice or to some who needs help due to emergency. I always see to it however that there is always tuition money for my scholars in my paypal. Aside from adopting 2 scholars, I support charities that empower a poor community through livelihood programs. As they say, "give man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach man to fish, he eats for a lifetime."

However, when typhoon Haiyan came, the devastation was so disheartening. I gave to various charities for Haiyan victims and also to some I know directly affected by typhoon to the point of draining my paypal account, for the very first time. Despite draining my paypal balance however, I was confident that everything would be gained back for the tuition of my scholars.

But then, I got a test of blogging fate at that point. I got a mail from my city billing me of "city business tax" which according to the city treasury I failed to pay for several years. I was like: "but I do not have business, I am no businesswoman!" As I read the letter, I realized, I had been reporting my blogging income whenever we file income tax since I started monetizing my blog. San Diego saw this "reported income" from outside sources other than my primary job and hubby's job ( we file joint income tax). I wonder why it took them years to see this additional blogging income reported to our income tax. They billed me $500 for all the city business tax plus penalty that I have not paid for years. I asked hubby about what should I do. On careful research, he told me that aside from paying federal and state taxes for blogging, I should also pay for city business tax, and get a business license to comply with city law. Hmmm, perhaps I was too naive with how to do with income earned from online, that I thought I only have blogging tax obligations to the federal and State. Anyway, I paid the city out of my savings, no longer out of my paypal. I also applied for business permit to follow city law. After that, I felt down, and almost did not want to blog anymore coz of all the taxes I am paying. Hubby told me I should be happier because I am contributing more to the economy of the nation with the additional taxes I pay from my blogging. Hubby is probably my number one blogging supporter. He promotes my blogs to his family and friends, explaining to them the purpose of my 2 blogs. Despite hubby's words, I just felt like "why should I keep on blogging when I don't really have to? I do not want to pay additional taxes anymore!"

But thanks to my blogging besties, Che of Sweet Memoirs, Zen of The Letters of November and Ruthi of Ruthi's Breathing Space, whose messages to blog for a purpose was so strong and uplifting, I decided to stay with my blogging. Blogging, after all, becomes more joyful and meaningful with besties that share your purpose. And so glad I listened to their inspiration!

God is so generous, so ever loving, so ever faithful, that in just 2 months, my paypal bounced back! It's almost sending me to tears, that indeed, how GREAT IS OUR GOD!! Indeed, when you give, you receive back a hundredfold!!!! 
My Recent Paypal Balance from almost zero two months ago. 2 months Paypal income earned from my 2 blogs, The Joys of Simple Life and this one. 

And not only that, I am now a proud owner of a licensed city business, "The Joys of Simple Life Blogging!" Hahahah!!!!
I am now a certified businesswoman, hahaha, with an official license to blog!! :) Want to join my "The Joys of Simple Life Blogging Company?" Hahaha!! Just kidding, never did I think of blogging as a business.

What is my business activity about? As independent artist and writer, woohoo!!! Though frankly, I do not consider myself a writer, but somehow, they put my blogging in that category!

Pardon me if I say in jubilation, I just experienced, a blogging miracle!! :) I again have more than enough for the federal, State and city. Before tuition paying comes, I trust there will be more than enough.

All thanks and glory to HIM!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Where I Belong.....

 Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach, CA
My very first experience of US was in Laguna Beach, Orange County, California during my 2002 summer vacation. When I finally set foot @ Laguna Beach 2002, I felt the soothing ocean breeze welcoming me. It was like a breathe of pure joy, of being close to home, yet away from home. The ocean has always been my sanctuary, my paradise. 
Sunset Watch @ San Onofre State Beach, San Diego County
During the lowest points in my life, I always ran to the ocean to seek refuge. The ocean is the place on Earth where I can cry and unload my pains, yet the tears I shed were just but a small fraction of the water that crashes on my feet. Somehow, the power of the ocean waves seem to be God-sent in taking away any pain and putting back revitalizing energy for me to move on with a passion in what I believe God has led and guided me to do. The ocean is also the place I would stomp my feet and dance for jubilation,
to celebrate His goodness, embracing the soothing music from each splashing waves. My late mom when I was younger always had a hard time finding me when it was time to go home because I would hide in the waves :) Some of my most favorite childhood memories was going to bed so tired from playing with the waves that I felt like the waves were still carrying me in bed, moving me up and down, splashing me big time to wonderland.
When I left Laguna Beach for the Philippines on that same year, I told myself I would be back to try my luck and get a job in the land of dreams. The next year, 2003, I indeed went back to California, at that time, I had a set goal in mind, to look for a job! But fate did not listen to what my heart wanted then, I found a job, not in California, but in Connecticut.



Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
That time, I did not have any idea where Connecticut is. I did not know anyone there. But I took the courage of accepting the job and moved there, but promised myself to look for a job in California again! Thus, when I was teaching in Connecticut, I used to spend my vacation days such as spring break, thanksgiving break, Christmas break, and summer break in the West Coast. Since I lived in a city in Connecticut that is closer to JFK or LaGuardia than Hartford, I usually chose to fly from these two airports, or from Newark in New Jersey. My reason was very simple, accessibility to coupons :) and of course, transportation. A friend showed me then how coupons codes can save big bucks in traveling, and I found out that I have more access to these coupon codes and can get cheaper flights if I fly from JFK or LaGuardia in New York than from Hartford, Connecticut. The benefit of living close to a big airport where there are many air fare deals. Also, it was easier for me to find transporation from JFK or LaGuardia to my place in Connecticut. I did not have to worry who will pick me up even if my flight was already late at night.

After a year in Connecticut, I moved to California, for only one reason! Not because of job ( I was scared then at that time I may not find a job in very competitive CA), but because of love! My boyfriend of 2 years proposed. I could not make him move to Connecticut, so I moved to California.
@ Torrey Pines, California
Now, after almost 8 years here in California, I feel like I am living the dream I had when I first set foot in US.  I am here, where I belong. The US West Coast is a land of many wonders that allowed me and my hubby to explore places, to explore God's majestic artistry. From my sanctuary in the ocean and the flowing river in the mountains, a new world has been opened to me, I have developed an affinity and love for the desert, a place my heart also longs to go to each year. 


Real Deals on Cool Tools

I am a hands down DIY mom. I take care of simple home repairs like a leaking faucet, a clogged drain, or a broken chair. It saves me a lot of money by doing so. Through the years, I have invested in good basic household tools. I am considering purchasing other stuff like de-greasers, lubricants, cleaning materials, adhesives and sealants. I also need to stock up on nuts, bolts and screws. The stress of keeping a full time job and managing a household has left me little time to shop around for these things. I decided to look online instead and found good deals in the reid supply website. I was amazed at the wide array of products they carry! And they do have the things I need! I immediately filled up my order form and I am eagerly awaiting the delivery. I highly recommend this website. Go check it out! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

First OOTD Post, Hopefully, not the Last :)

There is always a first to almost everything. Inspired by many fabulous bloggers and blogging happine$$, :), haha, I would be adding some OOTD posts in this blog, under the City 2 Outdoors in Comfort and Style category. :)

Frankly, I did not even know what OOTD means before, despite I often read about it in blogs and FB. I was too embarrassed to ask. :) I guess, I am so out of fashion. :) Haha! Actually, I am not really into fashion. I get clothing, shoes, purses, more according to my style. Because I go to stores knowing what I would buy, I shop fast, no, VERY FAST. For outdoor gears, I get whatever is highly rated in terms of performance and comfort.

For a little bit twist, I will mix OOTD here with city and outdoor OOTD, to fit my blog's category: From City 2 Outdoors. I am new into OOTD's, so pardon me if my post is so unoriginal, or so out of style! haha!! I am hoping to learn more however in this aspect of blogging through time, so that, this first, will hopefully be not the last.

CITY: 
Jeans, Blouse and Cardigan: Banana Republic bought from  Banana Republic Store, Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego 
Yellow Sandals: Tory Burch, bought from Bloomingdale's, Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego

* note: some of you may wonder why I mostly have Banana Republic. Well, I find their clothing fitting my style, and I am a lazy shopper. When I go to the mall, I usually would just go to Banana Republic and Bloomingdale's, then, I am done. I go to other stores too, but not as often as I go to these 2 mentioned stores.  Perhaps, next to Banana Republic and Bloomingdale's, the next most visited stores for me are Nordstrom and Tory Burch. I don't buy clothing, shoes, purses at original price, since they are always not immediate needs. I buy when they are already hugely discounted, at least 75% off their regular price. 


Jeans: J Brand from Bloomingdale's, Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego
Blouse: Banana Republic from Banana Republic Store, Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego
Shoes: Naturalizer from Macy's, I forgot the name of the mall in Milford, Connecticut ( yep, this is a very old pair of shoes )
Purse: Gucci from Gucci Store, Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego
Accessories: Handcrafted by my friend, Tes of The Craftista, Etsy Store 
Sunglasses: Marc Jacobs from Marshalls, San Diego


OUTDOORS:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Prom Night Season

If there is such a thing as prom night season, it is now. My students are looking forward to our school's prom night, which would be 2 weeks from now. Attending prom night in our school district has some requirements: students should clear their unexcused absences by attending Saturday School, students should have no failing grade, student's grade point average should be higher than 80%, should get a citizenship grade of at least satisfactory and no behavior referrals from teachers or at least clear any behavior referrals. For that reason, prom night in our school district is not everybody's opportunity. But what I like about it is that it motivates students to do better in their academics and also be a solution to the school community, rather than be part of a problem. It also opens up to them the reality that there's more to life than simply looks, taking care of their education and character is very important and should not be taken for granted.

For those who are qualified to attend prom night are now busy looking for their prom dresses. There were some students who would ask me at lunch time to help them narrow down their choices. I kind of find it cute sometimes that my students trust my "prom" sense. :) Haha! If there is such a sense! :) I enjoy it though since it brings me back to the time where I also was excited about our prom night.

I actually am excited to share here some of my students' choices from DressFirst where they asked for my approval, haha, if what I think!! :) Well, what do you think?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Outdoors To City Transitioning Techniques

My Outdoorsy Home City, San Diego


From the rough outdoors to the finer amenities of the city....., that's how most of the time our weekend goes here in the outdoorsy San Diego. As you could see from the picture above, San Diego is bordered by mountains to the East, ocean to the West, with the bay, canyons and mesas in between. It's tough not to enjoy the outdoors in San Diego when escaping civilization in this city is just a matter of minutes and the weather is mild year round! Never too hot, never too cold. Sadly, it is this perpetual weather year round and the balance of nature and city that makes San Diego one of the most expensive places to live in America.

There is almost something for everyone here. There's probably no single activity that would describe San Diego since you would see a lot of hikers, surfers, divers, paddleboarders, kayakers, bikers, runners, paragliders, boaters, wind surfers, rock climbers, golfers, etc. and well, even shoppers. 

For hubby and I, we're mostly into hiking and snorkeling. We both love hiking and the ocean. We both love photographing and videographing both the underwater and terrestrial world. Occasionally, we would also pick up our tennis rackets and wear our tennis shoes for some casual tennis match, just so we won't forget that it is through tennis that we met. :) But for the health of our knees (we both had knee injuries), we had turned to hiking and snorkeling now. Our time has been invaded mostly by our love to experience nature. 

Sometimes, we would combine our activities in the city and in the outdoors. In this post, I will be sharing some of my outdoors to city transitioning techniques. 
The Gears for Outdoors To City Transition
( gears I wore last December 12, from hiking to watching the play, Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas )

How Major Depressive Disorder Can Affect Your Life

Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is a commonly misunderstood condition among most people who have never experienced the effect that it can have on one's life.  Many people make the mistake of believing that depression can be easily overcome or that a person is somehow weak for allowing it to have an effect on their daily life.

The truth is Major Depressive Disorder can have a huge affect on a person's ability to lead a meaningful and productive life.  The symptoms can be various and severe, and if a person finds themselves facing a condition of this kind without reasonable accommodation from his or her employers, it may be a good idea to consult with a disability lawyer in Seattle or the city nearest you.

Below are some of the most common ways that Major Depressive Disorder might keep a person from acting as a beneficial contributor in the workplace:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

If The Rest of 2014 Is Like Jan 1st

A WONDERFUL JANUARY 1ST, 2014

First, let me greet you a very happy New Year. Hope you had a wonderful one, and may 2014 bless you with good health, happiness, deep joy and your heart's deepest desires. 

Wonder what is New Year, San Diego style? People and wildlife come to party at the ocean to greet the New Year with a bang!

Here's January 1, 2014 for the Lucs in San Diego:

1. Breakfast at Home
Toasted Pandesal, Fried Eggs, Mixed Fruits, Coffee, Strawberry Cheesecake, Penne Pasta with Kale and Cheese, and Vegetable Wonton Soup

Actually, the penne pasta and vegetable wonton soup were from our New Year's Eve dinner and are therefore, left-overs! :) The cheesecake was prepared during the New Year's Eve. I usually use chopped bok choy, mushrooms, scallions and egg for the wonton filling, however, I tried for the very first time chopped kale instead of bok choy, and hubby said it tasted just as good. Notice that there's kale in the pasta, there's kale in the soup, and don't ask, if there's kale also in our juice! :)

2. Hiking and Birding at Lake Hodges
Lake Hodges is Recognized as Globally Significant Bird's Area