The Month of the Heart of Winter

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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Romantic Mystery Dinner by The Prefettos

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It’s a known fact to readers of this blog (hello, do you exist folks? 😀 ) that I’m such a promo addict, I do because it’s the practical way of getting things I cannot afford and things I can afford but am so guilty to have. While the opportunities online remains to be all over the probability becomes smaller as these promos had tied up all over facebook and twitter, just imagine the clamor it creates everytime a new promo is there. I personally slow down joining these promos because of its probability; I think it’s just a waste of my time, no criteria into it –meaning everyone can be a winner by fate. But every now and then I get hooked to testing my fate, if I really have the luck you call it. Last Wednesday’s revelation was something I never expected, it’s one of the many I’ve joined I can’t even remember right away. 🙂

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My Perfect Recipes’ online promotion over facebook was simple, in fact very straightforward –Like, Share and Tag, as simple as ABC. Something that wouldn’t eat much of my time online, so I quickly joined. I never mind at all that the supposed prize would require my availability on a week day too, I was taken with the “catch” –winners would take home P2000 worth of cheese. I was smitten right away. 😛 Fast forward this week, I have no idea that the announcement of winners would happen anytime. I don’t do much facebook on a weekday especially at work (I’m law-abiding and facebook is not allowed at work 😀 ) but because of this unexpected power interruption last Wednesday our network was shut down. Fortunately my new PowerBro kept me connected and I had the luxury of getting online and facebook-ing while everyone kept their mouth busy chitchatting. I checked most of the promos I joined and My Perfect Recipes is one, they didn’t announce the winners but told that they sent private message to those who won. I checked mine, there was none, I thought I lost once more until I’m through checking my other inbox (I hope you’re aware you have this folks, facebook won’t notify you so be sure you check it once in a while).

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And the cheery part –I won! Read Here. Yep, this is my first winning for 2013 and I couldn’t contain my happiness because something really special awaits us (us, because the husband will be part of this happening). After giving my details and so things required from my side I was contacted by Chiqui, she told me all the details of my winning and I need to make myself available for dinner on February 21. Without considering anything, even the husband’s crazy schedule, I said Yes!

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Again, fast forward to last Thursday’s meet-up with Chiqui at Promenade, glad that the husband came just in time whew!, met up another winning couple who came ahead of us and the son of another winner, Chiqui was not from the company but she handles the event side, she was pretty, warm and chatty so we click especially when she told that she has labs too. We left Promenade going to the venue, all aboard the van especially rented out for us (I’m guessing here). But hey its biggie because they ensure everything is convenient for us. The place was not so far, it’s a good 10-15 minutes drive from the Promenade, a small restaurant tucked away from the shopping center. I love it that way because it’s private and, and it’s private, you know you’ll feel extra-special with its setting.

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Il Piccino Trattoria was the venue of the Mystery Dinner hosted by Perfect Italiano’s the Prefettos, it’s an old house transformed into a fine dining restaurant. The dining place itself was slightly smaller because it occupies the living space and porch alone. But with its uber romantic-feel you’ll be in wonderment, this place is perfect for first dates –boy trying to impress girl giving his best shot or boy making the wedding proposal, the place is either lovely for husband’s little surprise to her uncomplaining wife 😀 . And for me it’s the perfect venue to get-together with my small number of friends (true and lasting friends, you know who 🙂 ).

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Let me go detailed here of our experience with the Prefettos and Il Piccino. Soon as we stepped inside that tall, white gate with No. 162 outside, excitement runs in my blood, we were welcome by a gentleman in his chef’s outfit and led us to the second floor; the lighted candles on the pavement added so many thrills for everyone. I wish I have photos to show you but knowing me, I have that bad habit of forgetting this and that when overjoyed. Hehehe 🙂

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At the porch, reps of the Prefettos welcomed us. I wish I can remember each of them now. We were led to our designated seats, see the name plates with our names in it, it was very personalized. Husband and wives seats were crossways all of us five wining couple. We sat together with people sent by the Prefettos and from the events side, Chiqui’s party. The table set-up was formal yet remained unintimidating. While waiting for other couples to arrive I had a rundown of the place (sorry for the lack of photos here), I will only speak based on my recall –the capiz windows are always a charm, old fixtures and furniture are nostalgic, wooden floorings remains to be exclusive, I miss the one I grew up with. Our old house can be converted like this one too only that maintenance would be challenging I think. For now, let me feel back someone’s home and savor every detail of the fulsome event.

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A peep at the open kitchen…

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The emcee of the night, the pretty girl in red, light up the night to make it extra lively, she stunningly breaks the ice, tell us the story behind the Prefettos –Chef Primo, Chef Amadore, Chef Ilario, Primo and Chef Graziano (the virtual chefs), what to expect and what to look forward as we step forward (which sends to everyone’s anticipation) and last but not the least introduces Chef Natalia Moran. The young Chef went to Florence Italy to flourish her culinary expertise and went back home to share her mouth-watering dishes that is exceptionally Il Piccino Trattoria. Though everyone had its own access to the menu, Chef Natalia briefly explained bits of it enough to send everyone salivating to try it.

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Chef Natalia Moran welcoming everyone…

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I’ll leave you drooling here; expect a very cheesy night!

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Starter –Homemade foccacia with balsamico, cheese (shaved Romano and Parmesan) and olive oil. I didn’t get to taste the balsamico (balsamic vinegar) but the cheese was more than enough.

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1st Course –Sautéed mushrooms on polenta bruschetta with melted 3 cheese (Pizza Plus). I was hesitant to finish both because we have 4 more courses to go but how can I resists such when it’s cheesy as this.

The Prefettos’ team may have sense our heavy feel after getting a dose of carbo from our starter and the 1st course so without further ado, we were all requested to stand and proceed at the living space where the first challenge was revealed. Its boys versus girls so bring it on!

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With the use of spaghetti pasta, string, masking tape, scissors and marshmallow we need to build a tower and the highest tower wins. It was a 7-minute game and a pleasurable one. Guess who won? Let’s just say that we (the girls) do better than the boys on most things. Hehehe… back to our dinner table. 🙂

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2nd Course –Spinach ravioli with tomato sauce and Romano cheese.

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I had to admit that it was my first time to try ravioli and I have to see fresh ravioli yet. Chef’s Natalia’s style was bursting with flavors and I love it to bits –gooey cheese inside, its love! The serving was generous and almost made me full. Burp!

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3rd Course –Baked fish fillet thermidor and sautéed florets of broccoli. She uses Lapu-Lapu meat for this very hearty dish and knowing my struggle to eat healthier, this is a super win!

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Just peeking at the 4th course I could almost feel my tummy full but Chef Natalia pretty knows how to wash our taste buds aka “cleanse our palate” thing and gave us a citrus sherbet.

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Intermezzo –Kafir Lime granite. The single scoop works and readied us to thoroughly experience and enjoy the next course.

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4th Course –US terderloin steak with potato gratin and pako side salad. I wanted to pass up with the red meat but it was so tempting. How can you say no to something as good as this cut of meat, it was tender and tasty and juicy –everything a medium rare steak should be. 😛

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See that hint of red in the middle, its perfect!

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5th Course –Baguio strawberry panna cota with chocolate ganache and parmesan crisp. This Italian classic was another love! 😛

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It may not be as luxurious as to hotel dining’s I’ve gone before but what we had at Il Piccino was an enjoyable feast. I couldn’t thank enough Perfect Italiano for allowing us to be part of this Romantic Mystery Dinner and since we haven’t yet celebrated V-Day, we’re counting this as our post V-date (‘ney, great savings here ha so you really need to get me something 😀 ).

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Wait, it’s not over yet. After that hefty wonderful dinner we were given another challenge and again its boys versus the girls. It’s a Q & A kind and questions were mostly related to the kitchen, the boys almost won so in short we still came out as the big winners! And winners get prize!

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We also got to take home Perfect Italiano cheeses –a stack of mozzarella and parmesan! Again, thank you to everyone who made this event a truly remembered one. 🙂

And thank you for this,

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And this,

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P.S. Sorry if I miss some details of the event here…

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P.P.S. I was seated beside Ms. Corrine Emata (the mommy behind the SinglemMomSuperMom blog), his son Jeremy (who’s blogging at High Gear Full Throttle) and Ms. Berylle Kaye Hong of itsberyllicious was one of the winners too. Wala lang, I just feel a media magnet sitting with three powerful bloggers in town. 🙂

 

 

Il Piccino Trattoria
162 Alfonso XIII St., San Juan City
T. (632) 9648034 / 0917 8291900
Strictly for reservations only
 
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random ramblings this week

Work had been back to normal as our counterparts in the Southeast Asian countries got back to their post after the long break, the Chinese New Year per se. It’s been a busy week and because it’s Friday today I’m almost jumping in bliss, I’m excited to see Saturday and curl in bed late because of the bed weather. 🙂

Back at work, I’m through with my staff’s PA for 2012 though I had to admit that I had a pretty hard time finishing the last one. It’s difficult for me to put in words what I really wanted to say, that I need more time, that I need to see more wisdom, and I need to prove that I’m not doing a big mistake by choosing her. I don’t want to put colors on it either because we’re friends. I’m taking it slowly but surely.

Last Thursday (yep, it was yesterday 😀 ), I had my annual physical examination yet again –the yearly mandatory check-up that will affirm if I’m fit or not. I had to fast the night before because of the special blood extraction I needed to complete or rather comply. The fact that I cannot eat and drink anything for the next 8-10 hours stressed me a lot, I don’t feel hunger but I feel so much dryness. I underwent ECG too but refuse to have the Pap Smear, I had the preference to do it outside. And every year I refuse the rectal and genital examination, I’m not comfy with it. My BMI remains to be on class 1 obese but it’s just beyond the overweight border, I need another year for it to go within the overweight class, and it would take more years (or probably it would never really happen at all) for the normal class. Anyhow, I think my physical examination is all okay and that qualifies me to another 365 days at work, oh it’s less here all the Saturdays and Sundays. 😀

About last night, I went to an event with the husband; we were one of the much selected few who got VIP treatments and take homes. It was an overwhelming experience, it was something very new for me and for the husband of course, I was in a state of high excitement even after arriving home. It’s one of the many unexpected that really made me so happy! I won and savor the victory with my love. The full write up will follow, for now I’ll brag a little here.

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The perks of blogging (?), not really because it has nothing to do with my writing capability here, I die with those cheeses! Love Love Love! Wishing you all a cheesy weekend! 😛

 

on my own again

The husband has to go away again this weekend to attend to some family errands and to oversee our project forty. I’m equally excited to see photos when he comes back either tonight or early morning tomorrow. I wish I could share here but knowing the husband’s amateurish shots I won’t dare do that now. I’ll wait until I finally have my chance to visit and see the improvements. 🙂

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Anyhow, because I’m home alone again I’m havin’ my me-time. SLEEP.EAT.SLEEP.EAT repeat, I’m too lazy to go out even though I need to get something at the supermarket. It probably can wait tonight or tomorrow, hehehe. Meanwhile, while I enjoy my on your own status I whipped up some classic for brunch earlier.

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I had extra spaghetti sauce from last V-Day so I needed to boil pasta only (I used the macaroni type), topped it with cheese and microwave it for 3 minutes. Oh boy! Just the way I wanted it. Yum!

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Because we have left-over breads which I purposely keep on the fridge, I made some warm French toast to pair my pasta. Solve!

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I know it’s too much for me, I should have someone to share it but what the heck the husband is miles away. I can keep the rest or bring it to work tomorrow. This time I don’t mind that I was going to eat brunch alone, I don’t mind if there wouldn’t be someone to do the dishes after and I don’t mind staying at home the entire day. These may not be the best times but I’m fine, I got no worries and I don’t need to be on cloud nine to say I’m happy!

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Bon appétit! 😀

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And yes, after a hearty brunch I got these sweets to keep me company. Sunday is LOVE! 😛

 

happy 35th!

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My employer for the last 13 years marked its 35th anniversary (hurray to a new milestone!) on Friday night. This time again the company celebrated it big (last year was exactly so different and the first time, I think ha, they limit the party to the management team + tenure awardees + sales awardees only), read here. Anyhow, like all the previous company anniversaries it’s like another Christmas party less the raffles and prizes of course. And because the 35th year is a significant year we’re not invited to a usual clubhouse only, the venue was something else, very Chinese, a classy one that has moved to a new home –The New Gloria Maris!

I remember my first years in the company, my first time too to experience Gloria Maris fine dining. And it became a regular thing because the bosses were suki, I can no longer count the times we dined here, it’s the closest to our office the reason why we normally pick the place when there’s important visitors in tow. Count here the treats by our generous suppliers; Gloria Maris is a favorite and its delicious Lauriat.

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I’m quite lost here where to start, program or food? Ok let’s start with the former which was a very lengthy one –anniversary message, candle blowing, citations, and awarding, special numbers. Two of my colleagues were tenure awardees this year so we cheered while they’re up on stage receiving their cash, oh I mean the plaque and kid them both to treat us lunch on Monday, hehehe.

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All ears during the President’s anniversary message…

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Applaud! Applaud for making it to your 15 years C. Mrs. F and I wished to make it too by 2016. We’re hoping the cash would double by then. 😀

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Ei, I couldn’t believe you made it through! Hehehe, more HP brands to sell!

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The company was indulgent this year too to get a live band performed though I wasn’t really paying attention that I didn’t even bother to get its name (kung si Ely B un malamang I would trade of my dinner for it, hehehe). But I heed to some good old songs from my genre, they did it well.

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The traditional cake blowing, something to look forward every year, it’s a happy happy occasion!

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And because dinner took too loooong to serve this time (what’s wrong with you Gloria Maris?) we wasted our time cam whoring.

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Here, there with everyone we bumped into. 🙂

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This kind serving of roasted peanuts keep us sane…

When finally the food was readied and slowly gets into our table one by one (the thing I hate about fine dining), I had to keep quiet and make moments with my favorites. 🙂

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This is what we’re expecting to wolf down…and I was the happiest because my ultimate favorite was part of the menu!

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Assorted Cold Cuts include jellyfish, century egg, and pork asado among others. I’m partial to jellyfish.

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And next was the ultimate favorite Hot Prawn and Chicken Salad. 😛

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I was silently praying that my tablemates wouldn’t like the idea of hot salad and leave it untouched so I can feast. Hahaha, but I was wrong because it was gone in seconds.

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Crab Meat and Corn Soup followed, good idea that I got another serving because our next platter came in very late.

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Yang Chow Fried Rice, it was a generous proportion however, it was cold already when the main course was served. I wasn’t too happy with it. 😦

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Birthday Misua, it wasn’t too enticing for me and I didn’t get a serving right away. I was saving room for the main chows only that waiting became a regular affair so I have to eat whatever is there.

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Chinese Style Beef Tenderloin, it was Friday and I was skipping the red meat so I didn’t bother to fork even a small cut of this dish. I guess my tablemates didn’t find this too appetizing to try that’s why it was left barely touched.

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Peking Duck 2 ways, the first was served with Chinese pancake skin for wrapping. I was tempted to eat more than two but I was cautious about getting a bad stroke and die on the spot.

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The other way was minced duck with lettuce. Eating this way is less guilty so I had three. 😀

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Fried Lapu-Lapu with Sweet and Sour Sauce, it was crispy and the fish meat was flaky and tasty but I’d prefer it steamed in soy sauce any given day.

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Crab in Salt and Pepper was another favorite, the plate was wiped in no time.

Desserts, well it was another story and I was more than ready, hehehe

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Almond Lychee was good but Mango Sago would be far better

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Malayco is love, with the right amount of sweetness. This steamed sponge cake is best eaten when warm.

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And Buchi! It wouldn’t be a Chinese resto after all if these mochis were absent. 🙂

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Drinks were bottomless but refills was so slow. I couldn’t imagine it if the refills were served in pitcher’s it would be the worst ever I guess. (Refills were in cans and bottles, so I don’t really expect it to be so slooow)

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Patience is a virtue (was it really a virtue?), anyhow, because I’ll do anything for food I smiled and pretend that the waiting isn’t maddening at all. I walked out very full Gloria Maris that’s the important thing besides I didn’t shell out any single cent for this posh dinner so pardon my ranting here. 🙂

To my dear employer, I wish more revenues to come, may it hit its highest this year so we can all enjoy our fat bonuses in December. 🙂 Seriously, I enjoyed working with you for the last 13 years, there may have been resentment once in a while but that doesn’t mean I hate everything around, just a few okay.

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Happy 35th year ICS! Cheers from my loving team! 🙂

 

 

Gloria Maris Shark’s Fin Restaurant
Missouri Street, Greenhills, San Juan City
T. (632) 466-1998

 

a little of fasting and abstinence

Even before this year’s Ash Wednesday I started my meatless Friday last week,

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Shakey’s Seafood Marinara was a miss because it’s too oily, it was swimming in oil (not so sure if its olive oil or what). Anyhow, this wasn’t just the only food we had that night we had the usual chicken and mojos and chef’s salad.

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Ash Wednesday, I fast which was something I haven’t really done in years. I didn’t have any rice meal the whole day. This is what we had over dinner after hearing the 7pm mass at The Power Plant Mall. Mac & Cheese Classic from Gourmet, it was bland (I was expecting it to be super cheesy 😦 ) but all I can taste was the garlic powder (very McCormick) on top of it.

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California Maki and Salmon Sashimi from Rustan’s Supermarket, it was pretty good, at least Cold Storage never failed.

And this was last night’s V-dinner at home. Take outs from Army Navy. Cheese Quesadillas, Captain Fried Chicken and Freedom Fries! 😛

Tonight, I’m expecting a grand dinner and so far Gloria Maris never failed me yet. Happy 35th to my employer!

 

St. Valentine’s Day

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image copied from here

Others may find Valentine’s Day annoying, boring and “baduy”, maybe I thought of it the same way in the past especially during my unmarried years but as I come to age I realized it may not be as important as Christmases less the trimmings and the lavish gifts but it’s significant in its own. VDay is a day of love, a celebration of the hearts. Though it may sound perfect only for couples, you can actually come up with your very own unique Vday that is inspiring and remarkable.

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I remember my early 20’s, lovelife was cold as beer zero but I have a bunch of friends to celebrate Vday itself. We would partied hard every Feb 14, we would bar hopped like there’s no tomorrow, we’re each other’s Valentino. And I don’t mind if the crush of my life was dating someone over, hahaha. I know we’re all a little weird then and life is a little weird too. When we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness that is. I miss my V dates, I miss the Gs, I miss the girls, I miss the rest of the P-Boys, I miss Congo Grill, I miss Gerry’s Grill, I miss our stints at Kampo in West Ave., I miss the road trips. Vday may not be the same for us but that won’t keep me from making merry on this lovely occasion. 🙂

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My other half had been my Valentino for the past 8 years and I look forward sharing all future VDays with him. We don’t celebrate it grandiose, he don’t go over the traditional flowers and chocolates, we don’t go on a fancy date on a fancy restaurant, we don’t splurge in short but despite the scarcity of those we find time to sit down, have a decent meal and spend time. And I can only wish we have B around to celebrate this love day.

Later we have no real plans, and I might visit the nail salon first before going home, I have a party to attend tomorrow. I’m planning to bring home some take outs, unless some last minute changes happen our V-date would be in front of our old TV set watching our most-awaited teleseryes. For the younger folks, bring it on and go on a date, “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.”

spaghetti topped with parsley and cream cheese

By the way, I brought a tray of spaghetti at the office earlier. I told them it’s my little treat packed with my labor of love thingy. And oh I went at the office in red today, even asked my colleagues to go with the same. 🙂

   Love puts the fun in together, the sad in apart, and the joy in a heart.  ~Anon.

Happy Heart’s Day folks! 😛