Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stories in Hand

I wanted to enroll in the 5-week Friday night classes at Powerbooks called The Five Stories You Want To Write. It's a writing class which I thought would improve my writing skills. But my main objective is really how to capture the relevant stories of my life that I can put into my scrapbook pages. Unfortunately, the schedule doesn't work for me. Three out of the 5 Fridays are already booked in my personal calendar (it starts Nov. 14 and every Friday til Dec. 12).

Fortunately, I signed up for Jessica Sprague's online class called Stories in Hand. It started yesterday so today is Day 2. The class is about the process of capturing the stories that matter. As a scrapbooker, I thought this is highly relevant because I want my scrapbooks to tell stories of how I lived my life. I don't want my scrapbooks to be just about pretty "artistic" pages but I want them to remind me of the good times and the bad, of the experiences that make life sweet, of the blessings I need to be thankful for, of the lessons learned, etc.

The good thing about this class is that I can do it on my own pace. I can access the site any time I want and print the materials on my own convenient time. Yesterday, Jessica shared some printable digital elements to be used for our "scrapbook". Today, she gave us what she calls "sparks" - questions about our ancestry, childhood, routines, etc. - that would, well, spark stories that can be captured in our scrapbook pages. I haven't had a chance to read through the very long list (there are three categories - Roots, Self, Family) but browsing through some of them already brought back memories. I am very excited and I am hoping to interview my parents to know more about my ancestry.

I think I am already doing a good job capturing our travel stories but I need to capture the everyday moments too. So hopefully, this class will help me do just that.

I will share what I can as the class progresses (it runs til Nov. 23!). Right now, I need to go to bed and rest. I still have low-grade fever (4 days already!), a terrible cold, and now, I have cough too! I'm already taking antibiotics so hopefully, the fever will subside soon.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dinner at Firelake Grill

For our 112th monthsary, we decided to drive to Tagaytay and have dinner at Firelake Grill. We went on Aug. 17th, a day before our actual monthsary, because it falls on a Sunday. The first time we went there about a year ago, it was closed so we ended up eating at the Italian restaurant across Firelake. So this time, I decided to call first and reserve a table for two.

We got there a full hour before our reservation and they just opened. We decided to go for it even if it was still very early.

We started with Iced Tea and dinner rolls. Ariel then ordered a glass of red wine to go with our dinner.

The Smoked Salmon and Caviar salad was very tasty. The serving was just enough to whet our appetite for the main dish.

We ordered Rib-Eye steak with prawns. Well, it's supposed to have just one piece of prawn but since we are splitting this, we asked for an extra piece so Ariel and I can have one each.

I love risotto and every time it is offered in the menu, I just couldn't resist. So we also ordered the asparagus and mushroom risotto. The serving was quite large specially since we had another heavy dish in the steak. I wanted to leave room for dessert so we weren't able to finish the risotto, but it was really good, too.

For dessert, we went to Bag Of Beans. We ordered the Blueberry Cheesecake and I think the other one was Pannacotta.

I had coffee of course - cafe latte to go with my dessert.

Thanks for looking!

Birthday Bash - Part 2

My birthday was actually almost two months ago but it took me a bit of time resizing the photos so well, I'm just posting this now.

Anyway, my hubby gifted me with an external flash for my Canon 40D DSLR. Knowing him though, I know he has a few more surprises up his sleeves. So, while I wasn't all that surprised to get flowers from him, I was surprised to see it waiting outside our bedroom door when I woke up the morning of my birthday. Turned out he arranged for an early morning delivery.

The bouquet contains three each of some of my favorite flowers - three red Roses, three pink Carnations, three Gerberas (in assorted colors) three Lilies, and a lot of beautiful fillers. I just love getting flowers! And he knows it!

We had lunch at Abe right after our Blow Up Babies appointment. I blogged about that here. Anyway, it had been very difficult to reserve tables at Abe but we were able to book one for my birthday. Yahoo!

We ordered Binukadkad na plapla which I first discovered at Bistro Remedios. Now, this dish is actually available in many other restaurants (like Recipes) but it's only here where it is paired with Burong Dalag which I thought is the best way to eat this dish.

A meal won't be complete without veggies so we ordered Pinakbet. It was ok, nothing really spectacular - just your average pinakbet.

Now, I had been looking forward to ordering the Sinuteng Baby Squid. Unfortunately, it was unavailable so we ordered Sisig instead. No luck. It was also unavailable! Sigh. We settled with the Crispy Shrimps which was good but I had my heart set on the baby squid.

After lunch, we stopped by the Home Depot nearby to get some kitchen stuff for my newly renovated kitchen. Then we headed to the Manila Ocean Park. I've got to tell you this. I've been planning to go to MOP for a long time and I thought I'd surprise Ariel on my birthday. So I told him that I have an itinerary and that he should leave it up to me. Days before my birthday, Ariel told me that whatever my plans are, I should give him 3 hours because he has a surprise for me. I had a very strong feeling about it so I asked him if he's taking me to MOP. True enough, our surprise for each other is a visit to MOP.

Our plans ended with MOP. After that, it was totally spontaneous. Ariel asked me if I want to go to Fort Santiago. It's been over two decades since I was last there so I readily agreed. It was a bit unkempt. I think we are doing a poor job maintaining our historical sites. Tsk. Tsk. Nonetheless, it's still beautiful and very photo-worthy.

After our tour of Fort Santiago, I asked Ariel to take care of choosing our dinner destination. He brought me to Ilustrado which I really liked because that only means we're having Paella for dinner. It was our first time to eat there and we had a wonderful time.

Ariel ordered red wine while I opted for white. We skipped appetizer because we need the tummy space for the heavy paella dish.

Ariel also got a fish dish with lots of garlic. Yummy!!!

For dessert, we ordered Canonigo which is a popular Spanish dessert. It's like the outside of Brazo De Mercedes which is light and fluffy, topped with vanilla and caramel sauce , and mango balls. The sauce is too sweet for my taste but it was a great end to our mouthwatering dinner.

Tired from a packed day, we just went home after dinner instead of going to the spa which we initially planned. We opted for a home massage so we can go to sleep immediately after. Before I went to bed, hubby presented his final surprise - a white leather-strapped wristwatch which I saw at a jewelry store months ago.

See all photos here.

Can't wait for my birthday next year! :D