February 2013 Monthly Roundup

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
- Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth

What movies and/or TV shows did I watch this month?
- Notting Hill on HBO
- We were too busy this month to watch a movie!

What special days did I celebrate and how?
- The VDay!

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
- Hubby got me flowers for the VDay! Woot! Thanks Sweetie!

- Then he treated us, with the kids at Mamou Too for dinner. Yummy!

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
- So thankful that we didn't have much health concerns this month. Thank you Lord!

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
- Had our first family day for 2013. Highlight: The yummy paella by BIL!
- Celebrated VDay at Mamou Too
- Went to the little girl's family day in school
- Went to Acuatico one weekend with our good friends. We all had a blast!
- Went to DIVI to shop for prizes

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
- BIL's Paella
- Free J. Co Donuts from the GM as his VDay treat. YUM!
- Mamou Too, Powerplant Mall
- Had snacks at Shakey's twice. Aargh!
- Acuatico Beach Resort, Laiya Batangas
- Finally tried Ersao Milk Tea, Seafood Noodle Soup and Spicy Chicken

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
- I bought a watch and a few arm candies (*wink*)

What were this month's disappointments?
- Again, I'm thankful that we didn't have that much disappointments this month

What were my accomplishments this month?
- The Ate's Deportment and Academic Merit Award. Good job, Ate! Galing!

The end of February means summer is officially starting soon. I may hate the hot weather, but I'm excited for what 2013 summer has in store for us. (*wink*)

Back to HCM. Shopping at Ben Than Market.

As soon as we arrived HCM, we immediately felt the change of weather. Whoa! IT was hot! LOL!

But it didn't stop us from going anywhere and shopping! The moment we settled down, we immediately went to Ben Than Market. (*grin*)

It was our last day so we made the most out of it. Did our last minute shopping, drank all the coffee that we can drink and enjoyed HCM on our second to the last day. We still had one more day to go!

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Happiness is...

1. Quick getaway at Acuatico Beach Resort
2. Beach, beach, beach!
3. Summer is really here! Woot!
4. Friends :)
5. Loots from the Lola
6. God's affirmation yesterday morning.
7. Gift of Family
8. Hearing the kids' laughter while they were swimming in the pool
9. Answered prayers :)
10. God making a way for EVERYTHING!

To know how this started and credits of the header, click here.

My Little Girl's Love for Music

One afternoon, Hubby was in the mood to take photos of the little girl who is turning 7 soon and look at my favorite photo of her...

Yes, she just had to bring a guitar! Her favorite thing to do these days is watch her Dada play this musical instrument. Hubby and I are now thinking of giving her, her own guitar so she can learn how to play this summer. I love that I found a couple of good deals online and they even have the best brands there like zildjian for cymbals, drums & percussion and guitars too! So will probably check more options at world wide web since that is the only thing I can go now. I'm pretty sure we will find something for the little girl for her 7th birthday.

I can imagine her joy when she opens our gift. I'm sure she will be ecstatic! She loves music and hopefully she gets to appreciate it in the years to come.

So Long Hanoi!

Our last day in Hanoi came and it was time to say goodbye. As much as the rest of the family loves the weather, I myself didn't enjoy it THAT much because I got sick with allergies. UGH!

It was bitter sweet when we left because I knew that I'm going to miss the great service and staff of An Hung Hotel.

While waiting for our ride to the airport, we had our photos taken outside while we were freezing! I think the crew said that it was around 14C outside!

After more than an hour, we arrived the airport just in time to take a few more photos.

After checking in at the budget checkin counter of Tiger Airways, we had another authentic (of course!) Vietnamese lunch Hanoi version for the last time.

After that we went straight to the boarding gate to wait for our flight.

Our Late Dinner at a Random Restaurant in Hanoi

After our 3 hour trip from Halong Bay cruise, we were soooo hungry and late for dinner so we just decided to eat at the first restaurant that we saw. And I'm glad we chose the right one! They have this set meal so we didn't have to order anything more. They just brought the food that is part of the set menu. And everything on the package were really good!

Spring Rolls, of course!

Green Papaya Salad which I found a little spicy but good!


Very Tasty Shrimps

As far as I can remember, there are more food on the table but I guess I was too hungry to take photos of the rest of the food. HA!

Great dinner! Now, it was time to go to the night market! Woot!

Sharing a Song this Sunday: Nothing

How's your Sunday so far?

If you are mending a broken heart, you might like this song by The Script.

Hope everyone is having a Blessed and Great Sunday! Enjoy the rest of the weekend! (*wink*)

Explored the Huge and Beautiful Sung Sot Cave in Halong Bay

Another thing that made our Halong Bay Cruise even more interesting is our visit to the biggest cave I've ever seen so far...

I didn't what the weather is inside. There are parts where I feel hot, the other parts, I would feel coooold. SO I had to remove my scarf every now and then. But the stones were amazing inside. Something I haven't seen before. I was truly amazed.

"Situated in the centre of the UNESCO-declared World Heritage area, the Sung Sôt or Surprise Grotto is on Bo Hòn Island, and is one of the finest and widest grottoes of Ha Long Bay.Ascending to the grotto, the way is covered by trees and foliage, and consists of great paved stone blocks.Inside, it is partitioned into two chambers; the first one being similar to a wide theatre hall. Many stalactites hang from the high ceiling, with numerous possible forms and shapes. ** Grabbed from TripAdvisor.com."

Just look at the formations inside the cave and take note that these are just one of the thousands out there!

I'm so glad I was able to see this beautiful cave, something I will treasure for life!

Shopping for Home Accessories

Now that I have exhausted my money for buying a watch, a couple of arm candies and a pair of shoes, I better stop myself because we need to prioritize our house this time. There are things that I need to buy so I need to make a list because there are tons of things that we need to prioritize this year. From new roman blinds to compact fluorescent lamps to bathroom rugs. These are basic essentials that we need to purchase. Little things that if you add it up would make a dent on our budget.

I'm looking for other options when it comes to fluorescent lamps. I want something that I could use to save electricity. Something that is energy saving and compact too so it would fit the theme of our house. This is because after reading a quote in Genesis Lamp Corporation, it really made me think twice...

According to the US Department of Energy, if every household replaced just one traditional light bulb with a energy-saving compact fluorescent replacement bulb, the United States would save enough energy to provide power to three million homes for a year.

It somehow opened our eyes and see the benefits of energy saving and compact flurescent bulbs. Amazing what little things can actually do to the whole world if EVERYONE would do it. So I guess we should start on ourselves, right? The Genesis Lamp Corporation will cater to our needs when it comes to this. So I better look for the options available at their site and see if they ship to my country (I hope so!).

Our Lunch during our Halong Bay Cruise

Another thing that I've been looking forward to is our lunch at Halong Bay Cruise. Before lunch, we had time to take a few photos while they were preparing our lunch.

And finally, it was time for lunch. Look what we had...Authentic Vietnamese Foodie, Hanoi version, this time!

Cucumber Salad

Sweet & Sour Tilapia, Vietnam Version

Spring Rolls

I was surprised that the spring rolls in Hanoi is different in HCM. But both yummy and delicious. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth water. Aaaargh.

It was definitely a sumptuous Halong Bay Cruise Lunch! ♥

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Happiness is...

1. Relaxing week
2. Lovely weekend with family!
3. Chocolates from friends and relatives during VDay
4. Lovely flowers from the Hubby (Thanks Sweetie!)
5. Free J.Co Donuts and Coffee from the GM
6. Dinner at Mamou Too (Thanks again, Dada!)
7. Had fun at the litte girl's first family day
8. Seeing friends at the family day
9. Gong Cha!
10. Starbucks with the Household last Friday

To know how this started and credits of the header, click here.

The Man of Steel is Back!

Ooh, look what Hubby found a couple of days ago... The man of steel is back!

Don't you just love it? I think everything was changed here even his costume. I can't wait for the movie to come out!

Please let it be SOON!? ♥♥♥

We Love our Halong Bay Cruise!

After a 3 hour road trip to Halong Bay, we finally arrived and we were immediately ushered to the boat that we will be riding for the rest of the cruise. I was surprised that the boat was just an ordinary boat. But the experience and seeing Halong Bay in person was definitely unforgettable!

Here's our itinerary for the day:

I guess what's even more unforgettable is when we went down the big boat and rode a smaller boat! The kids were ecstatic!

I'm so thankful for the opportunity and finally we were able to see the beauty of Halong Bay.

Sharing a Song this Sunday: You're the Reason

I love, love this song and it makes me think of my little girl...

Have a good Sunday, everyone! Spend it wisely, rest, relax and have fun with your family.

Off to our much awaited Trip to Halong Bay

One reason why I love to go to Hanoi is because I wanted to see Halong Bay and I wanted to try the cruise. So when we were asked to avail the tour, I didn't have second thoughts. And besides, the price was not too bad considering that it was that popular.

While Waiting for our Van

One thing that we didn't look forward to though is the 3-hour road trip to the Pier. But surprisingly, since the weather was nice, we all just slept off the first 1.5 hours before arriving the first bathroom break stop.

And we were refreshed with the 30 minute break after seeing the locals work...

Their products were simply amazing. Too bad most of it are expensive! :(

After half an hour of our break, off we went again for another 1.5 hours trip to the Pier. The girls slept thru those hours (I was so glad!) and finally arrived safely at the pier.

Coming up next, my post about HALONG BAY! Watch out for it!

Dealing with Savings and Investments is our Priority these Days

Now that the first quarter of 2013 is almost over, (yes, I can't believe it either!) we need to prioritize more on the savings and investment for the year. Unfortunately, I've had a couple of shopping sprees for the past two months so I need to recover these expenses. Plus the upcoming expenses for summer! I'm thinking of either tightening our belts when it comes to expenses OR trying to increase income and start venturing in an investment.

I've checked out a site when I tried to click here and found a great way to invest. It is a virtual stock market game. I know, investing while you have fun playing a game sounds like really fun! I've always hate learning about investing in stocks so I guess this is a perfect way to learn about it.

There are three ways on what you can learn from Wallstreet Survivor:
- Portfolio Basics
With this, you get to learn how to build and manage a portfolio.

- Investing Goals
With this part, you asses your risk tolerance and financial goals and then learn how to realize them.

- Learning How to Invest
And finally, with Wallstreet Survivor, you learn to invest with key investment strategies like diversification, growth investing, index investing and more.

Interesting right? What a nice way to do over the weekend. Let's do this!

Bonding at Highlands Cafe with the Whole Family

With a very cold weather and tired feet from walking around Hoam Kian Lake, we decided to have coffee (again!) and sit down for a moment to rest. I'm glad we did because we were able to bond for a couple of minutes before we head back to the hotel.

I just love my family!

And look at the view that we had while we were having coffee...

Aaaaah, beautiful! One of the best meals we ever had in our Vietnam trip! ♥

Happy Hearts Day, Everyone!

It's a good day to celebrate L.O.V.E. today! Enjoy your day with your loved ones! Be happy!

Wednesday Happy Thoughts

Happiness is...

1. Relaxing weekend. All our schedules were cancelled so we just stayed home and rest.
2. ChaTime with Hubby and the kids
3. Quick "me" time at the salon last Sunday
4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
5. Online Window Shopping
6. New ebooks!
7. Preparing for the Ate's 7th
8. Beautiful weather
9. Coffee lets me stay awake in the morning
10. The little girls' laugh while watching their favorite movie

To know how this started and credits of the header, click here.

Exploring Hoan Kiam Lake in Hanoi

One of the beautiful place in Hanoi is the Hoan Kiam Lake. It is located right in the middle of old quarter making it a tourist attraction.

I love the stillness of the lake and making me feel so at peace just sitting beside it. And the girls looks like they love this particular spot too because they were having the time of their lives and enjoying the cold weather too.

I wish I could stay longer here, but since it's a tourist spot, it is full of people along the red bridge and after the red bridge. Oh well, at least we were able to take a lot of photos. Thanks to Hubby!

It was definitely a beautiful day! ♥♥♥

Best Location & Best Service at An Hung Hotel

One of the best decisions we ever made in this trip is staying in An Hung Hotel. Recommended by my sister who already stayed there a couple of months ago when she visited Hanoi. She said she had great experience in the hotel location and service wise. She was right!

Since I got sick while in Hanoi, the manager, Ling, personally went with me to the pharmacy since most of the locals cannot speak in English properly. I was so thankful that she brought me to the nearest pharmacy. Talk about great service!

I also love that the hotel is in great location. Walking distance to the night market and to the lake. The lake is my favorite spot in hanoi and I'm so glad we can go there everyday!

The breakfast buffet was also good. Although the restaurant of the hotel is small, the options of food are a lot and the people don't tend to stay long.

I would say, we all LOVE An Hung Hotel! ♥♥♥

Sharing a Song this Sunday: Les Miserables Playlist

Oh my, I can't believe I found this in YouTube. It's Les Miserables' 10th Anniversary dream cast singing all my favorite songs!

Sharing this on a beautiful Sunday. Have a great day, everyone!

Treating my Family at Mama Rossa, Our First Dinner in Hanoi

By the time it was dinner, I wasn't feeling very well already so instead of walking to the restaurants near the lake, we decided to ride a cab instead. It took us only a few minutes which means we are just a couple of meters away from the lake. Yey!

We went for the first restaurant that we found and it was Mama Rossa. I kinda miss home food so we thought it was a good choice to have Italian food for our first dinner in Hanoi.

I told you, I wasn't feeling well so I wanted to EAT a LOT. HA! And look what we ordered for the whole family...

Cream of mushroom for the sickie - that was me!

Seafood Pasta for the kids and kids at heart...

2 Whole Pizzas for everyone...

Not in photo are the baby back ribs and the sirloin steak that we devoured in I think, 5 minutes. LOL!

We all were very full afterwards so we decided to just walk on our way back to the hotel. Great dinner, indeed!