March 31, 2012

Great Smiles Begin with Healthy Teeth

I have finally finished booking our flight and our accommodation for our Manila holiday next month just this afternoon. I am officially excited!

Now, my next to-do list is to find a dental insurance or plan that fits our budget.

Our health and accident insurance is from my husband's company. It is a great insurance in general but when it comes to dental coverage, it only covers the accident part, like surgery.

I am looking for a plan or an insurance that covers the whole range of general dentistry. Between hubby and I, we need a lot of fixes and repairs. And I want to do it while we are in the Philippines.

My friend referred me to Aetna Dental Access Plan. She said it is an affordable dental discount plan for the whole family.

It sounded great so I checked their website. Let me quote their program features and highlights:

~ Save 15 to 50 percent on everything from general dentistry and cleanings to root canals, crowns and orthodontia.
~ Save on specialty care such as orthodontics and periodontics where available.
~ All dentists are credentialed and participate in a quality management program.
~ Over 66,000 dental practice locations nationwide
~ Save on routine dental services such as x-rays and fillings.
~ No health restrictions
~ Easy to use
~ Present your card and save
~ No paperwork, you pay the discounted amount at the time of your visit
~ Use the card as many times as needed
~ No predetermination of benefits required
~ No referral required to see a Specialist
~ Group rates available

I like the part where there's no paperwork required. A lot of insurances or plans nowadays require lots of paperworks before or after procedure. And one of the most important thing I like is that all dentists are credentialed. I don't want just anyone fixing my teeth.

I will read more about this plan and see if this is perfect for us. From the sound of it, it looks like it is.

A healthy teeth makes for a great smile. Let's all take care of our teeth.

March 29, 2012

Goodbye March

Have you guys noticed we're nearing the end of March? It's just a couple more days and we're going to say hello to April. I know it's pretty obvious but I am just amazed at how time flies these days.

The reason I am well aware of the date is that I am counting down to our next holiday. I am so excited because we are going to Philippines!

I haven't finalized our itinerary and I haven't booked accommodations yet.

I am having a hard time choosing which hotel to stay for 4 days in Manila while we fix our condominium. I want to book a nice hotel in payment for the anxiety I have gone through these past couple of weeks. LOL!

I am thinking about Marriott Hotel Manila or Edsa Shangrila. We haven't stayed in both hotels yet. Marriott is a new hotel. And I am very partial to new hotels.

My only problem with Marriott is that it's far from where the action is, except for the airport. Edsa Shangrila, however, is just right in the middle of everything we will visit while we are in Manila.

Hmm..hopefully I'll snag a good hotel deal today.

~~~

I am planning to visit Quiapo during this holiday. I want to resurrect my jewelry business.

I have been reading magazines and I saw a mother s ring design your own that's easy to follow.

I actually miss beading. But right now, my schedule is still full. I couldn't devote even a single minute to working on it.

Once I come back from the holiday, I am hoping I will have more free time and I can go back to beading again.

I think I will utilize my etsy account that's been dormant for over a year already.

~~~

It's Thursday in my side of the world. I love Thursdays! It's almost always a happy day.

I wish you a happy Thursday, my dear blogger friends!

March 28, 2012

The Plan

Can I let you in on a secret? Hubby and I are planning of renewing our vows. This time, in the church setting.

Hubby and I got married over civil rites, to the dismay of my parents especially my mother. My mom, when she was still alive, would tell me every chance she gets that hubby and I should get married in the church.

Hubby and I decided to have the civil wedding for practical reasons. We know a lot of couples who got married and spent close to a million pesos just for the wedding. Later on, they have to break their backs just so they can pay the debts. We did not want to start our marriage like that.

Anyway, I promised my mom we would get married again soon. I was just trying to lose weight back then. My mom said, you don't have to wait that long, you can always wear plus size wedding dresses. I said, okay, we'll do it on our fifth wedding anniversary.

But my mom passed away before that.

Hubby and I talked about renewing our vows. We're planning to do it on our 10th wedding anniversary. We won't have the lavish wedding, just a simple one with family and friends.

If this is going to happen, I plan to wear a gown by Rajo Laurel. Ambisyosa! Hahaha. Just kidding.

I will just make sure that I will not gain weight again like this:

Photo taken July 2008. This was my heaviest weight ever. Over the years, I lost some weight. It was a yo-yo weight actually but I have never become this heavy again.

Last year, August 2011 to be exact, when I decided I want to lose weight permanently, I have lost a total of 26lbs. This is me, now.

I am very happy with my weight loss. Hubby has been following my lead and just like I said in my previous post, he has lost almost 8 kgs now.

The wedding renewal may or may not happen. But one thing is for sure, we will definitely maintain our weight and enjoy being healthy together.

March 27, 2012

Asserting Yourself

Last Saturday we attended a friend's daughter's birthday party. EJ was particularly excited because he hasn't seen the celebrant for some time already. He was counting down the date to the birthday party.

But come party time, EJ was not in a party mood. I don't know why, maybe he was tired and sleepy.

His mood got a little darker during the piñata game. Two kids cut the line and took his turn to hit the piñata. This was his reaction. LOL!

He was ready to cry. I went to him and consoled him. The host then gave him the first chance to hit the other piñata. That changed his mood and got him back into the game.

When we went home, hubby and I recounted the event. We told EJ not to cry when someone cut the line, like what happened at the game. Instead, he should be assertive and tell the kids that it's still his turn. We told him not to let anyone step on his toes (literally and figuratively).

He listened carefully. I hope he will remember what we told him. In life, you can complain that everybody is taking advantage of you or you can stand up and fight for yourself. I always choose the latter. I realized long time ago, nobody will fight for me if I don't even fight for myself.

~~~

Hubby has lost considerable weight already. His BMI has gone down to the normal level. Thank God!

By end of this month, I am going to give away a lot of his old pants and shirts. I told him to go shop for new clothes and for new cufflinks as well. He said he'll just do it in Manila when we go on vacation next month. Oh yeah! I almost forgot we're going home next month. Yippee!!!

I still haven't booked our tickets and accommodations yet but I will do that this week.

~~~

Have a great week, guys!

March 26, 2012

Dream Holiday Destinations: Dominican Republic

If you’re after a holiday to the Caribbean but you’re not sure where to go, have you ever consider a trip to the Dominican Republic? Bathed in sunshine with picture postcard beaches, stunning seascapes and a laidback Caribbean lifestyle, this is simply what dreams are made of.

Vacations to Dominican Republic generally involve taking it easy. The pace is slow here - think barefoot paradise with rustic beach huts, palm-fringed bays and friendly locals. The seafront really is the pièce de résistance so if you’re not into beaches, this Caribbean castaway probably isn’t for you. Otherwise you’ve got miles upon miles of soft sands to sink your toes into, with gently lapping waters hiding a vast underwater world that’s just begging to be discovered. Don a facemask or join the local scuba diving group to explore the vibrant corals and fascinating life lingering just beneath the surface.

Like many USA holidays, the Dom Rep is tourist-friendly and offers a five-star service everywhere you turn. Hotels are generally top class and usually come on an all inclusive basis, which means you won’t have to go far for mouth-watering food or refreshing cocktails. If you do want to seek out the local eateries, you can expect to pay much less than the average European restaurant and enjoy a feast for your senses - with everything from local taíno dishes to hearty rice and meat-based fare infused with Spanish flavours.

When it comes to local activities, Dom Rep does more than just beaches. Try your hand at a selection of thrilling watersports, from windsurfing and kayaking to jet skiing, opt for a boat trip to explore the outlying islands, or take a memorable whale watching tour and spot groups of humpbacks.

Whatever you choose to do on holiday in the Dominican Republic, this is one destination that gives you everything you need for a truly memorable getaway.

March 24, 2012

EJ's Term 3 Presentation

Yesterday was EJ's end of Term 3 presentation in school. Two more months and they'll be finished with the school year!

As every end of term, parents are invited to watch a short presentation by the kids. They sang a couple of songs, read a book they did themselves, did an activity with the parents and had snacks afterwards.

As always, it's fun to see the kids in real action.

Singing about baby beluga...

Doing an activity with the parents...

EJ with his friends...

During snacks....At their "buffet" table, they had fruits, crackers, cake, juice and milk. EJ only put mango and crackers in his plate. I asked him if he wanted to have a cake, he said no because he already had a slice of cake a couple of days ago and besides it's junk food. Wow! I am so proud of him. I think he was the only kid without a cake on his plate. Other kids actually only had cake in their plate. Yay! We do have a health-conscious kid at home.

Some of their works were on display all over the classroom. This is EJ's drawing of a habitat.

EJ's earth...

I just realized, EJ has been in school for three years now. After this school year, he still has one more school year before he'll step into grade 1. Wow! What a long journey before he starts his elementary year. I just hope he doesn't get tired of school.

March 23, 2012

Why All Inclusive Majorca Holidays are Always Hard to Beat

Majorca is an iconic holiday destination and with good reason. The weather is reliably delightful and its beaches are among the best you'll find anywhere in the Mediterranean. There are hundreds great hotels and high quality resorts for families or groups of all sizes to choose from and there are more than enough activities going on around the island to keep everyone entertained whatever it is you're after.

Trips to the Balearics are never likely to disappoint but all inclusive Majorca holidays are arguably the stand-out option when it comes to booking a sun-drenched stay on a Spanish island. Going all inclusive of course means that  you'll have every chance to maximise your holiday time simply because so much of the process is taken care of for you. So you don't have any cause to concern yourself with finding restaurants, booking excursions or over-extending your holiday budget.

The Majorcan hills are ideal for walking tours or for cycling trips around the island, while the coastlines are equally idyllic and they play host to all manner of water sport activities whenever the sun is out. It really is the perfect place to go on holiday as so many thousands of British families can testify. By looking for the best deals online you can find yourself a bargain, including on all inclusive arrangements, which often work out considerably cheaper than if you book a self-catering alternative in the same area.

If you have nothing much beyond pure relaxation in mind for you next trip to the sunshine then Majorca is a great place to lay back and leave you troubles behind but there is also a huge amount for tourists to take an interest in, particularly in the capital city of Palma. Wherever you're planning to visit this time around, beach holidays can prove to be even more relaxing and rejuvenating than you might've imagined if you do a little homework and book an all inclusive deal online.

Coffeeshop: Spinelli Phnom Penh

I finally got to try Spinelli here in Phnom Penh. They opened several months back, I think.

I don't have much time as I used to have so on the rare times that I decide I want to have a latte, I go to Brown or Gloria Jean's Coffee for take away.

But last week, I had ample time to stop by, sit and enjoy coffee. So I decided to go to Spinelli.

Spinelli is another international brand that's hit Phnom Penh. I think among all the coffeeshops, this one's the biggest. It has two floors and it's really spacious.

Since it was a hot day, I ordered a cold drinks. Something like a latte with a twist. I forgot the exact name. LOL!

They gave me a mug of water without asking for it. Plus point for the staff.

However, they did not let me take a picture of the interiors. I have no idea why some establishments forbid picture taking. Don't they know it's free advertisement for them? Oh well. The pictures above were taken without their permission. LOL!

Anyway, the drink was good, just a bit expensive compared to the rest of the coffeeshops. The place is huge and the wifi is free. But I think I will still hang out at Brown or Gloria Jean's.

March 22, 2012

SimSimi Craze

From facebook to twitter, everyone is talking about SimSimi, the cute, loveable and sometimes naughty chatting robot. So I got curious. I downloaded it on my iPhone and had a blast chatting with her. Yes, she's a girl. I asked her.

I knew right away that EJ will be hooked. He likes to text his dad but his dad doesn't answer him right away especially when the dad is on a meeting. So SimSimi is a perfect textmate for EJ, because she answers promptly.

I downloaded SimSimi on EJ's iPad and when he got home yesterday, he played with it right away.

At the bottom part...

EJ: how are you?
SimSimi: same old, much prettier than you.
EJ: i am a boy.

EJ had a laugh about this. LOL!

By the way, I disabled the offensive language in the settings. It's highly recommended especially if a kid is chatting to SimSimi because there are times SimSimi can be offensive.

For those curious, SimSimi can speak in different languages. My friends have even talked to her in Surigaonon and she did answer in Surigaonon! Pretty fun stuff, if you ask me.

Try it and have a laugh!

March 21, 2012

Weird But True

I spotted this book at Monument Books and I knew right away that it's going to be a hit with EJ.

Weird But True 2 by National Geographic Kids. Actually, it's not EJ who's leafing thru the pages. Even hubby and I have joined in the fun.

Did you know that a hippo's lips are about two feet wide?

Yikes! That's one big mouth. LOL! Here's some more:

A cockroach can live for over a week without a head.
Cats can't taste sweet.
Some robots can identify different cheeses.

I like this book because it's a fun way to learn random facts about the earth we live in. And EJ is definitely hooked. He's even shared in his class that an Ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

Now, I am looking for the first edition of this book which I can't find here in Phnom Penh.

March 20, 2012

Every Moment Counts

I got a call from a friend today. She asked "What happened to you? You haven't been updating your blog!" I haven't? That's because I am hibernating. Hahaha! I wish.

Seriously, thank you Ate Elms for pointing it out. That means you're following my blog/s. As for your question, well, I was not in the mood to write blog posts over the weekend. Actually I had no time to write over the weekend. My weekend was really busy. But it was good. I was busy with my boys.

Yesterday, I meant to write a post but migraine got in the way. Summer is early and it's really hot. I can see myself stocking up on my migraine meds. Sigh.

Anyway, I just want to share something for parents out there. I am sure you know this already..

Spend every possible time you have with your child/children. Cherish it. They will grow fast enough.

EJ goes to school from morning until 3:30pm. After school, we usually go home right away unless he has a playdate or he has his taekwondo class. Once at home, I leave him in his playroom or in our bedroom and I go make our dinner or check my emails and online work until hubby arrives.

But I realize I have wasted perfect moments to bond with my 5-year old son. So now, I try as much as I can to stay with him after his school. I prepare our dinner right before I pick him up. That way we can both watch DVD together, play his iPad, read books together and sometimes just tickle each other silly.

I am not saying I am the best mom around. I am saying I treasure these little things I do with my son. And I am sure my son loves it also that he gets to play, read and watch DVD with me.

I notice that EJ is a lot sweeter now. The random "i love you, mom/dad" are too often mentioned. I also love the fact that EJ would rather stay at home than go on playdates. I think it says a lot.

March 15, 2012

Madam Tussauds Hongkong

I've got itchy feet again. And since we couldn't travel just yet (hopefully we'll be able to travel next month), the next best thing to do for me is take a look at our travel pictures.

Since I haven't posted these pictures here, I might as well share what I was looking at a few minutes ago. These are our pictures at Madam Tussauds Hongkong. We went there last January 2010, our first time in Hongkong.

Madam Tussauds Hongkong is located at one of the famous locations in Hongkong, The Peak.

I don't remember how many figures they have. All I remember is that they have Hollywood Stars, Asian Stars, Kung Fu Stars, Sports Stars, Cultural Figures, Pop Stars, Royalty, World Leaders and Fiction Characters.

Princess Diana Wax
Princess Diana

President Obama Wax
President Obama

Pierce Brosnan Wax
Pierce Brosnan

Nicole Kidman Wax
Nicole Kidman

Meryl Streep Wax
Meryl Streep

Johnny Depp Wax
Johnny Depp

Einstein Wax
Einstein

Eddie Murphy Wax
Eddie Murphy

David Beckham Wax
David Beckham

AstroBoy Wax
Astro Boy

Tiger Woods Wax
Tiger Woods

The Queen Wax
The Royal Family

Marily Monroe Wax
Marilyn Monroe

Madonna Wax
Madonna

Angelina and Brad Wax
And last but not least, my favorite Hollywood couple - Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt


Madam Tussauds Hongkong
Shop P101, The Peak Tower, No. 128 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong

Opening Times
10AM - 10PM Daily (Last Admission 9:45PM)

Tickets
Adult - $170
Child (aged 3 - 11) - $100
Senior (65 or above) - $100

Waiting for the Green Signal

After the successful "cloning" of my two flat sandals at Beautiful Shoes, I think I am going to have a bag cloned next. I am a bit hesitant but I have nothing much to lose. The staff said the bag usually costs around $60. A little expensive but if they get it right, it will be worth it.

I am thinking having this bag copied. A Tod's D bag. It's pretty ambitious but I am hoping they can do it.

This bag retails for more than a thousand dollars. If I could get it at a fraction, why not? Well, at least I hope so.

I am going there on the weekend. Let's see what happens.

~~~

I was cleaning our windows on the third floor today. I saw an American coin. I wonder who put it there? I knew we put coins all over the house and purposely left it the last two New Year's Eve but I don't remember having American coins. We only had coins from places we've been to in Asia and a few coins from from Paris and Belgium.

~~~

I am itching to travel. Actually I can't wait for next month when we go on a vacation to the Philippines. I'll bet a 3-week vacation is not enough. But I'll take it.

I have not booked our tickets yet because we're still waiting for a confirmation from hubby's office. Hopefully, by end of this month I'll have the green signal to book everything. I can't wait.

~~~

Everybody at home is healthy again. Thank God! EJ has been back to school since last Monday. He's happy to be back in school and be with his friends. I am also happy I get to work on my own time without someone calling my name every five minutes. Yup, EJ is like that "mommy, this" or mommy, that". LOL! Don't get me wrong. I love him so much but I couldn't finish my work if I am interrupted every 5 minutes.

~~~

It's already Thursday. I cannot wait for the weekend.

March 14, 2012

Tea Time at Himawari Biz Cafe

I said in my twitter account last night: "To be happy, you need a healthy body, constant inspiration and a set of goals. That's what I think."

I forgot to add, coffee and tea make me happy too =)

On a serious note, a happy weekend for me means being able to do everything together with my boys. The simple act of doing groceries together, having coffee and tea together (never mind if both boys will just play on their iPads all the time!) and doing errands together are enough to make me happy. Honestly.

Last Saturday, we found a new Cafe in town. It's in Himawari Hotel. We enjoyed our tea time there as the place was basically empty, the blueberry cheesecake was delicious and the staff was attentive and nice.

Himawari Biz Cafe. It's a new one. The hotel combined their business center with a cafe. I think it's a great idea.

Blueberry Cheesecake shared among us. Choco Frappe for the boys and Green Tea just for me.

Hey boys! It's time to go home!

My lame attempt at being coy/cute. LOL! The stairs lead to meeting rooms upstairs.

I love Saturdays. I always look forward to it.

March 13, 2012

Finding Family Activity and Adventure Holidays

Finding activity adventure holidays that the whole family can enjoy is much easier than you might imagine as there are so many package deals available right now for you to choose from. You can balance activity and full-on relaxation in any number of ways to ensure that you have just the kind of vacation that you and your family are after. So whether that means hanging out by the beach before you get involved with the latest water sports, or it means tackling a set of snowy mountains before hopping into a jacuzzi, you can find it all online very easily.

By carrying out even a simple search based on your fundamental holiday stipulations you can unearth all manner of adventure packages designed to give families flexibility along with no end of action-packed entertainments. There are dozens of resorts around the Mediterranean where families can sun themselves to their heart's content before taking lessons in more high-octane pursuits like water-skiing, sailing or scuba diving. And when it comes to kite surfing holidays Europe is also very well equipped with experts available to help you pick up the basics and learn the skills you need to have fantastic time.

Days spent with your family on holiday in beautiful surroundings in Europe or elsewhere are always likely to be great fun but adding an element of adrenaline pumping activity or adventure can help to make the experience all the more memorable. And that is as true in the context of winter sports as in the summer. It doesn't take much organisational effort to add a range of activities to your next holiday schedule and you could just find yourself opting to inject a little adventure into every trip you take in future.

Hotel Review: Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel

I love hotels. I keep telling myself, when I grow up I want to build a hotel of my own. LOL!

I studied Hotel Administration when I was in college. And later on worked in Sheraton Fullmoon Maldives in Maldives. I may have left the industry but I am still in love with hotels. Whenever I book a hotel for our travel, it always takes a long time for me decide because I research first and make sure we stay in the "best" possible hotel around that area.

I remember I had a little difficulty choosing our hotel in Hongkong back in 2010. It was our first time in Hongkong and I wanted a nice place, a convenient one and of course one the suits our budget.

I chose Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel and I am glad I did. It's near the airport (just a free shuttle away) and close to Hongkong Disneyland (a free shuttle away too courtesy of the hotel), the main point of that trip.

One factor that I also consider when checking out hotel rooms are the linens. I don't want any flowery sheets. I just want a simple and plain white linens on the bed.

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Lobby2
 In the lobby

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Lobby1  
 In the lobby

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Lobby3 
Beautiful Lobby Bar

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Room1 
Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Room

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Room2 
Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Room

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Room 
Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Room

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Bathroom1 
Toilet and Bath

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Bathroom 
 Toilet and Bath

Hongkong Skycity Marriott Hotel Bathroom toiletries 
Toiletries

On our second visit to Hongkong, we stayed in Shangrila Kowloon. Two different brands but both very nice hotels.

What's your favorite hotel in Hongkong?

March 11, 2012

Fish & Co. Has Arrived in Phnom Penh

Last Thursday was a holiday here in Cambodia (I guess all over the world) as we celebrated International Women's Day. By the way, a belated Happy International Women's Day to all the fabulous and gorgeous women all over the world, me included. LOL!

Anyways, we went out for lunch and we found out that another international food chain has arrived in the Kingdom. Fish & Co is here!

We had our first Fish & Co. experience when we were still in Malaysia.

A little research tells me that Fish & Co. is owned by two Singaporeans. From one store, they are now Singapore's leading restaurant chain and has already expanded internationally.


Fish & Co. Phnom Penh is located along Riverside.



Hungry, honey?


We ordered fish and chips for EJ but we substituted chips with rice.

Seafood Platter for hubby and I. Price - $25. I think it's a little bit expensive. We are trying to remember if the price is the same in Malaysia but we could not remember. We also forgot they have big servings! This was more than enough for us. We even have some leftovers that we took home. LOL! I love the sauce on the mussels. So creamy!


Chocolate mousse for dessert

March 10, 2012

All You Need is Love

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. - Charles M. Schulz

And may I add, a little blueberry cheesecake doesn't hurt too. Happy Saturday, guys!