Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Christmas Wish List

This is for my online gift exchange buddies. Have fun shopping! I know I'll have a great time hunting presents for all of you.

 Here's my Christmas Wish List:
  • Something you can use everyday: scented pens or 2012 small monthly organizer
  • Something cute: any Sanrio stuff
  • Something light or small: cute earphones
  • Something fancy: bracelet or necklace
  • Something sweet: milk chocolate, any Filipino sweets
  • Favorite colors: pink and lavender
  • Something you really need: knitted scarf or mittens, any winter stuff to keep me warm
  • Something you collect: Filipiniana themed paper products (papelmelroti), fridge magnets, Christmas ornaments
  • If you have one wish, what would it be: to have my full health back

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Maryland Getaway

We often speak, write and brag about vacations of faraway, forgetting that right where we are is a near destination absolutely beautiful worth exploring.

For Kepi's birthday, I took him to the town of Oxford for a weekend getaway. Oxford is about two hours drive from the Metro DC area, but the atmosphere there is contrast to the bustling city life in DC. Oxford is tucked quietly on the shores of the Chesapeake. Interestingly, Oxford has only one gas station and about five restaurants, that serves good food I may say. But the highlight of our getaway is Sandaway, the bed and breakfast we stayed in perched perfectly on a private beach and THE place to watch the sun set over the Chesapeake.

The Chesapeake

Home away from home.

Waiting for the sun to set.


With cups of cocoa and tea to warm our hands, we ended the day watching the painted sky right from our bedroom window.

Happy Birthday, Kepi!

Monday, November 28, 2011

To My Christmas Exchange Gift Partners

I have three Christmas exchange gift partners so far, I'll play Santa to Kate, Photo Cache, Amelia, and they'll be Santas to me. To my gift partners, please post your Christmas wish list by December 2nd, so that I can start shopping for all of you. I'll be sending packages by December 10th.

Image Source

Christmas Wish List Guide
  • Something you can use everyday:
  • Something cute:
  • Something light or small:
  • Something fancy:
  • Something sweet:
  • Favorite colors:
  • Something you really need:
  • Something you collect:
  • If you have one wish, what would it be:
Please note that this list is just a guideline. It's Christmas and whatever you put into that box will surely make me happy as long as it's packed with cheer and kindness.

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Christmas Tree And Black Friday

    After spending a wonderful Thanksgiving with Mom and Kepi, it was time to put up the tree and light up the house with the Christmas spirit. This tree is so beautiful to look at especially when it's all lit up at night.

     Every year, we buy an ornament that represents what our year was like. This year, we added a faberge egg ornament we got in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    I already feel Christmas in my heart.

    Of course, we hit the stores on Black Friday and here's our loot. I think we did well on the shopping this year especially that we got DVD and Blu Ray movies as cheap as $1.99 to $3.99. Majority of our purchases were 50% off. We also got free Tin Tin ornaments and movie tickets this year. The lines weren't bad, and I think that's because some stores were open at 9 pm and 12 am Thanksgiving Day.

    Just wondering, anyone want to do an exchange gift with me? Nothing fancy or expensive but just something to look forward to on the mail. Let me know.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Milan And The Mal Educata Filipinas

    I visited Milan in 2010, but I never got around to posting these photos until now.

    Kepi and I spent most of our time in Venice, but we decided to hop on the train to Milan to visit an old friend and high school classmate, Vids. It was an emotional meeting as it's been ten years since I last saw her. After the unending hugs at the train station, we took the hop-on and hop-off bus to explore Milan.

    We spent most of the bus ride just chatting. There were so many things to say. After all, stories and gossips repressed for years must come out. There were so many updates to be said - about former classmates, friends of old and who married who. We were busily chatting when an Italian lady told us sternly to shut-up. Okay, so Vids and I lowered our voice to a whisper and kept on talking anyway. The bus is a tourist bus filled with all sorts of people talking and laughing, but it bothers me that she singled us out. Also, her companion and herself were also loud in the bus. After a few minutes, the Italian lady stood up and started shouting, "Mal educata, Filippino!" (Bad mannered, Filipino!)

    I was in total shock.

    Vids got up and started a word fight with the woman. It's a good thing Vids is well-versed in Italian. I was shaking with anger and shock because no one has ever treated me that way. It was a good three minutes of word fight. When we reached our next stop, Vids, Kepi and I decided to get off the bus.

    That's my story of Milan and the mal educata Filipinas. I think this is one reason why it took me longer to post my Milan adventure, as I was waiting for my shock and anger to subside. I've been trying to forget about that Milan incident and although it has given me a taste of how some people can be racist, that won't stop me from seeing my friend again and of course enjoying beautiful Milan.

    Caffe Latte from Milan's McDonalds

    Inside Duomo di Milano

    One of the most beautiful cathedrals I've seen - Duomo di Milano

    We took the elevators to check out the top of the Duomo. It's really beautiful up there.

    An interesting statue I saw at the Duomo.

    Gargoyle and on the bottom right is the Madonnina.

    The top is filled with spires and I found it hard to photograph.

    The roof is known for its pinnacles and spires, set upon delicate flying buttresses.

    And yes, we watched the sunset on the roof.  A wonderful way to experience Milan.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Just An Update

    With Friday as Veteran's Day, it's a three-day weekend here and I am ecstatic. Although I've been feeling quite down due to my health issues, I am finding the simple pleasures in life that make me smile again:

    * Kepi surprising me with a bouquet of flowers and a card at home. It's a wonderful feeling to come home and be surprised.  Thank you, Kepi.
      * Mom getting me this cute coin purse. I love it! I bring it with me even if I don't have any coins at the moment. Thank you, Mom.

        * Spending the weekend in New York City - I can't wait to walk around Times Square, visit the Rockefeller Center, eat NY Pizza and maybe spend a cool, crisp, fall afternoon exploring Central Park.
          * Having lunch at Max's Chicken in New Jersey. I also would love to pick up some Filipino pastries and sweets at the Philippine Bread House. A bunch of Ensaymada would be nice.
            * Downloading new Christmas songs from iTunes. It seems that Christmas songs do wonders to my soul. I just love listening to them. 
              * Planning for the holidays. I can't wait to put up the tree this year and also get started with my Christmas shopping. I am tapping my fingers for Black Friday.
                * Preparing holiday cards for mailing.

                * Surviving the first semester in grad school, I only have two final papers to go.

                * Trying to manage my treatment well and positivity is slowly seeping into my every day life.

                I hope everyone's doing well. Alohas!

                      Wednesday, November 9, 2011

                      Stockholm's Millesgarden

                      Millesgarden is an art museum and sculpture garden, located on the island of Lidingö in Stockholm, Sweden. It is located on the grounds of the home of sculptor Carl Milles and his wife, artist Olga Milles, who are both buried there.
                      Carl Milles was born and raised in Lagga near Uppsala, the son of an officer, major Emil Anderson. Carl's mother, Valborg died when he was just three years old. Carl began his schooling in Stockholm, but left prematurely and became apprenticed to a cabinet maker. Later he attended evening classes in woodwork, carving and model­ling at the Stockholm Technical School.

                      In 1897 Carl was awarded a grant by the Swedish Handicraft Society, permitting him to travel to Paris, where he supported himself doing ornamental carpentry while studying anatomy at Ecole des Beux-Artes. Beginning in 1899 he had original sculpture at the Paris Salon and continued to exhibit there each year until 1906. (Source)
                      Europe and the Bull - the largest fountain at Millesgarden.

                      The stairs lead to the Milles' house and studio.

                      St. Martin Fountain - The fountain is Carl Milles' last completed work of art. Carl Milles chose the legend of St Martin as a subject for the fountain. The holy Martin was a saint from the fourth century who was very charitable and gave to the poor. Here he is cutting a corner of his cloak to give the reclining beggar as clothes. This is also an equestrian sculpture, and just like Folke Filbyter, the horse and rider are twisting in different directions, thereby creating a powerful movement. On either side of the rider there is an angel and a faun. (Source)

                      The Sun Singer at Millesgarden which depicts a naked male body, with no head or arms.(Source)

                      God's Hand

                      God's Hand - A small man is standing on a large hand. He is looking upwards and his body is tense, with fingers splayed. The man is balancing on the index finger and thumb of the large hand, a feat that seems difficult enough in itself, but his exertion is of another nature. He is gazing with rapt attention at something in the sky, as though he were receiving a message or taking part in a dialogue. (Source)

                      Folke Filbyter

                      The Little Triton

                      A peek into the Milles' studio.

                      The Sussana Fountain - Grand Prix winner at the Paris Exposition in 1925. In the middle of a sunken ornamental pool on the upper terrace of Millesgården, stands a key work by Carl Milles, the Susanna Fountain. The sculpture is hewn from one solid block of black granite in the compact style with smooth surfaces and soft contours that is characteristic of Carl Milles' work from this period. The granite is from Glimåkra in southern Sweden. Many of Carl Milles' sculptures are placed in fountains or pools, and Milles was often inspired by stories from the Bible, astrology or Greek mythology. (Source)

                      The Aganippe fountain 1955 - Aganippe was the name of a spring gushing forth from the mountain of Helicon, according to legend created where the winged horse Pegasus alighted with his hooves. Aganippe was the muses´ holy source and had the virtue of conferring poetic inspiration on those who drank from its waters. The muses were the patrons of arts and sciences. Each one of the nine muses represented an art or science. (Source)

                      The other artists featured at the Millesgarden are:
                      Olga Milles: Olga Granner's long years of art studies began in Graz at Landschaftliche Zeichen-Akademie 1886-92, with the prospect of later becoming an art teacher. Her education continued with a scholarship to Azbe-Schule in Munich 1893-95 and was completed at Academie Colarossi in Paris, 1899-1901.

                      Ruth Milles: Sculptor Ruth Milles was born April 19, 1873 at Bällsta Manor in Vallentuna. She began her art studies at the Tekniska Skolan in Stockholm, 1890-93 and continued at the Royal Academy of Art, 1894-98.

                      Upon completion she travelled to Paris, where she remained for several years executing sculpture and illustrations. Her summers were spent in the village of Briac in Britanny, depicting the fishing folks life in sculpture. Ruth Miles was awarded the Special prize in the Paris Salon 1902. (Source)

                      Monday, November 7, 2011

                      The Oresund Bridge And Souvenirs

                      Of course while in Stockholm, I couldn't resist purchasing some souvenirs. And, my visit to a city or country is not complete until I taste their very own sweets or chocolates. I've collected quite a number of fridge magnets now, and it seems that they're now my favorite item to collect; it used to be postcards.

                      Anyway, apart from the souvenirs that make me excited, the Oresund Bridge was one cool bridge that amazed me. Connecting Sweden and Denmark, the bridge is over 10 miles (16,4 km) and is the connection between the metropolitan areas of Copenhagen and Malmo. Built in 1991, the bridge is perfect for travelers wanting a quick connection between Sweden and Denmark without flying, the Oresund Bridge now carries more than 60,000 travelers daily - amongst them both local commuters and visitors. The Oresund Bridge offers a 4-lane road carrying 6 million vehicles per year, and two train tracks (another 8 million people each year). (Source)

                      Here are a few shots I took of the bridge:

                      I hope everyone is having a spectacular Monday!