California spring

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Another gorgeous spring day in Northern California. We are so blessed to be living in this beautiful Golden State.

I started my 4th of July decorations early as I was inspired by these vibrant flowers we picked up from Whole Foods Market today.

Summer and spring home decoration

 

After looking for an outdoor coffee table, we had a hearty Eggs Benedict brunch. How was your Sunday?

Home decorating tips

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One Kings LaneHow was your long weekend? I hope you all had a great Memorial Day. Today, I went online to check One Kings Lane since their recruiter keeps emailing me about engineering jobs. I wanted to find out more about the company and check to see if it’s worth pursuing once I’m ready. Well, let’s just say I found more than I was looking for! The way I look at it, we need to touch up on our home decorations anyway.. I found these great deals that would really look good in our house, some of them were originally $110 and I got them for $11. No brainer really.

The only thing I dislike is that you can only put a maximum of 5 items in your shopping cart and you have only 9 minutes to purchase them. I guess because the inventory is limited. Also, without using a search filter, the pages are quite slow because of the amount of contents and scrolling through them in my browser is a pain. You’re better off searching for an item, e.g. “pillow” even though there is a Pillow category. Using a search keyword allows to filter by color, price, etc. whereas clicking on the category does not.

Sales are also limited events so if you find what you’re looking for, you should just go for it. I got the 5 gorgeous items pictured above for $130. Amazing in my book!

How to style your neutrals: white

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I’m starting a “How To” series that would run the gamut of everything from fashion to travel and everything in between. The first of this series is a tip on how to style neutrals, beginning with your “boring” whites.

Tip #1: Hard and Soft - Go for architectural and clean lines then mix it with a feminine piece to balance the hardness. Bonus point if you can throw in a wedge sneakers for additional cool factor.

BCBG white jacket Louis vuitton bag 2

BCBG white jacket Louis vuitton bag

Tip #2: Go big or go home – Accessorize with bold colors and stay classy

Zara long skirt and top

International House Of lords

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Aptly inspired by the highly popular Game of Thrones, today’s post revisits some of my favorite noble houses around the world. By the way, I love the plots and twists of GoT but not so much the scandalous nudity and highly degenerate morals but that’s fine because we’re all adults here. I guess it’s another element that makes it so enticing and intriguing because it combines everything that makes us all human. The medieval lessons of backstabbing and clamoring for the throne is still present in modern times. Don’t believe me? Just look at corporate America. Check out this article about Career Lessons that can be learned from GoT. There’s so much truth to it.

No better way to start this than with the paragon of royal societies, England. [Click the picture for larger view]

Kensington Palace London

 Kensington Palace, London, England

Buckingham Palace London 2

Buckingham Palace, London

Windsor Castle England

Windsor Castle, England

Casa Batllo Barcelona

Casa Batllo, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Batllo Barcelona 2

Casa Batllo, Barcelona Spain, one of Gaudi’s masterpieces

Versailles France

Versailles, France

Palazzo Vecchio Florence

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Palazzo Pitti Florence

Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy

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Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Piti, Florence Italy

Palazzo Vecchio Florence2

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Villa Vignamaggio Tuscany

Villa Vignamaggio, Tuscany, Italy

Himeji Castle JapanHimeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle Japan 2

Himeji Castle, Japan

Pasta with scallop in creamy sauce

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Happy Tuesday! Please enjoy this pasta recipe I cooked for dinner+lunch the other day. So yum. This goes into our family’s favorite recipe vault.

Pasta with scallop4

Pasta with scallop

Ingredients

Wide egg noodles
3/4 up to 1 lb. scallop (I prefer the small ones)
Petite green peas
1/2 cup dry white wine
Mushroom
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp water
Scallion (green onions)
Mediterranean sea salt
Pepper

Pasta with scallop3Pasta with scallop2
Instructions

1. Cook noodles in a large pot until almost al dente. While this is cooking, steam the frozen green peas. You can do them together in the same pot but I prefer to separate the boiling and the steaming.

2. While noodles cook, pat scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a skillet until foam subsides, then add scallop. Stir until scallops are cooked.

3. Add wine to skillet and boil for about 2 minutes. Stir in water and cream and boil for another 3-5 minutes. You may choose to proportionally increase water, cream and wine for more sauce. Add scallion and season with salt and pepper.

4. While noodles cook, sauté mushroom until ready.

5. Drain water from the noodles and mix the noodles, sauce, mushroom and peas. Season according to taste.

Credit: I took this recipe from epicurious.com and made it personal by adding mushroom and slightly altering some of the ingredients.

Mama

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mother and child

To all the beautiful and selfless mothers around the world especially mine who’s an angel of God and an enthusiast of mischievous daughters like me..

Mama, you’re a valiant soul

I saw your pained smile at the corner of my eyes as you bid me goodbye. Half smiling, half sobbing but holding it together despite the protest in your eyes and your wailing heart. The cause of your heartache? Her obstinate child, barely 13 years of age, is pursuing this ludicrous idea of attending high school at the capital where chaos is the name of the game. At 13, without a nurturing mother by her side when she gets sick or to defend her when she’s being bullied. To even the field, to better her chances of getting admitted to a reputable university, hardly achievable if she was to remain in their small town. This, according to her daughter. Mother, she acquiesced to such quest despite the grief and terror it caused her. It was just the beginning of the many trailblazing pursuits her fearless and sometimes foolish child would embark on.

Mama, you’re a tireless warrior

Captain America couldn’t hold a candle to you. I knew you were tired but you seemed to be inured to this abject poverty. Your calloused hands bare telltale signs of a hard life. I saw you labor day in and day out, your eyes getting worse by the hour. But alas, who has the money to consult a doctor? It was a lucky day if you made $5 despite the arduous process of sewing those clothes hour by hour, minute by minute. Yet you plodded along, eyes fixated on one goal. You took breaks by preparing meals that you cooked by building fire using coconut husks, gasoline and wood. For fun you washed clothes manually: fetched water out of the ground, washed and rinsed by hand (blankets and sheets included) and then line dried them. Whites are to be bleached using starch, a process I won’t even delve into right now. And when finally it was time to go to bed to rest your weary body you wound down by ironing clothes. Your aide was one of  those heavy irons that use live coals. Yes, the ones you see only in museums. How did you manage to prevent the ashes from spilling over our white uniforms? Talent it seems.

Mama, you’re shameless

Despite attending public schools and being an academic scholar throughout college, money was always short. After all, food, commute, books and computer rentals aren’t free. The funds that you and dad pooled weren’t enough to sustain my meager college life so you went around town borrowing, sometimes begging for money from anybody and everybody willing to help out or wanting to make money through interest. I tried to do my part by eating only once or twice a day but for a growing teen with mental drills to conquer every day, ranging from Integral Calculus to Theory of Automata, it is not really sustainable nor healthy. But life left me with no choice for I couldn’t let you scrounge for more than what was needed. For years to come, the smell of Dunkin’ Donuts from the alley that led to my university hunted me. Its smell permeated through my nostrils down to my soul as I trudged along the streets, delusional with hunger and livid that I couldn’t afford a donut for a quarter. It was a constant and a poignant reminder of our poverty. Imagine my disappointment when I finally made it to California. Where is my Dunkin’ Donuts and what is this Krispy Kreme!? Apparently, you need to fly east for this. Dunkin’ Donuts eludes me to this day.

Mama, your mercy is infinite

Your forgiveness is unending, unbound even by my most mischievous act . When I led a crew of two to harvest nearly all your precious green mangoes, picked severely out of harvest season, I swore I would never be pardoned. Overcame with guilt after realizing the gravity of our acts, we hid for hours after twilight despite knowing that your voice was already hoarse from calling our names. When you finally found us, I was imagining father’s leather belt or sturdy slippers would hit us soon enough. Instead, mother she chose mercy, at least on the two of us. Ever the practical one and not wanting to let the fruits of her labor go to waste, she forced the rest of the family to eat our loot. I could see the rage in their eyes. Mother was the only one standing between us and our murder. They were hungry for revenge and I couldn’t blame them. I knew it was sour, not from eating it myself but from the wretched expression on their faces. I could almost feel their pain while their faces contorted in discomfort as they chew the cursed fruits.

Thank you for loving us, our dearest mama! Our inay, we love you. You are heaven-sent. I knew God loves me for He sent His best angel to raise and nurture me. Advance happy mother’s day to all the amazing mothers of the world, especially to mine! Thank you for your altruistic sacrifices.

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