Last Friday, AlexBear and I went to Chicago to renew my passport and (finally!) file my Report of Marriage at the Philippine Consulate. It was a dreaded trip, we weren't really looking forward to the traffic and all. Normally, the trip would take three hours - with what Google Maps considered as normal traffic.
Well, it took quite a bit more than that. We also didn't expect that it would rain. It wasn't bad, but it definitely added to the slow movement of vehicles. Now I sound like weatherman. Lol!
As we got closer to Chicago, it felt soooooo nostalgic. I don't like heavy traffic, but it sure made me homesick! I mean, big city, the smog, the traffic and the skyscrapers. The whole time I was saying, OMG I feel like I'm on my way to Manila/Makati! Especially from this view - it felt like a Cavitex trip.
When we arrived in downtown Chicago, traffic was a lot different from Oshkosh. There were hardly some lines on the road and I swear I will not drive there ever. The buildings were all beautiful tho. I won't deny that this really made me miss my days hanging out in Makati, and crashing over friends, going shopping and all. I don't really miss the busy big city life, but I still do every now and then.
Back to Chicago - I'm sure the city would be more beautiful and picturesque if it was a sunny day. So I took the best photos I could with my phone.
NOTE: Click images to enlarge.
And of course, I need to take photos of my favorite stores. I mean, yeah, it's quite childish - I go to the same stores here but still... LOL.
Except Burberry tho, I don't think we have that in Oshkosh at least.
The Philippine Consulate
Honestly speaking, I was kind of dreading going to the Consulate itself. I've read some reviews and there were some people who said that it was really slow and they were told to come back the next day. I really don't want to come back on Monday because that means I'll have to take another day off and we're going to have to travel ways away again.
I mentioned earlier, we had no idea how bad the traffic was going to be so we actually arrived more than three hours later. Luckily, there is an underground parking area. Unfortunately it costs a lot. I mean, parking in Appleton, WI is about $10 at most. Parking for 3-8 hours was $37! And no, there was no 3-5 hours but it's just a bracket of 3-8 hours.
When we arrived, it was also raining quite hard so we did get somewhat wet trying to find the right place. Turns out the Consulate was in a building whose entrance said it's a school. It's the right place, there's just no indication outside. That part was kinda irritating consider that looking for the right place while it's raining is no fun.
The consulate itself was a small place so it's not really busy and full of people. There were several other who were there before us and a movie was playing for those who are waiting.
The lady at the counter did ask me why I was late, technically I wasn't because it's about 1pm and they close at 4pm. But she said it takes a while to get the Report of Marriage done, so I explained that we came from Wisconsin and that we didn't expect this much traffic. They were really nice and they managed to get our paperwork done within the day.
I was also able to file for my passport renewal! Woohooo!!
The Highlight of it All
Now the thing I was really looking forward to was...
Going to Seafood City!!
Seafood City is actually a Filipino grocery store that has all sorts of Pinoy goodies. Then it also has some Filipino restaurants like Jollibee and Red Ribbon. This is the reason of my enthusiasm to come! There are a lot of Asian stores here in Wisconsin, but there are a lot of other Filipino products that they don't sell here like my Pinoy Style spaghetti sauce haha!
And of course... I gotta eat all that I can in Jollibee!!!
And when I said eat all I can, I meant that. So I ate the spaghetti, chicken, burger steak and peach mango pie.
I deserve it!!!
Moving forward, we did our groceries finally and oh boy did I overspent! No brainer. I took most of what I think I need, but I know I will need a lot more.
I'll be coming back...
The only thing that really got to me is how expensive things are. AlexBear and I love hopia but sheez, $4 for a pack of four pieces. Oh lawd have monetary mercy!
And I thought, oh let's get some local beauty stuff... simple but smells like home...
Uh.. okay, I'll skip this one.
But overall, I think we're all solved at the moment! Especially that the Bear has finally gotten his San Miguel Pale Pilsen!
Was it a good day?
Overall, of course it was! I got to talk to some Filipinos at the Consulate, ate my Jollibee and bought my groceries. I was also able to stock up my pancit canton (wahahah *insert evil laugh*).
See you next time Filipino goodies!
This is one long creative block...
I honestly don't understand why I've been extremely... lazy or demotivated in the past couple of months. After my last craft fair, I really haven't created anything that I would say is art-worthy and it's pretty disappointing.
I think I've stumbled over a really bad creative block. I've been pretty busy and every week there seems to be a plan. I feel like I've put so much on my plate and I can't finish what I got now. Funny thing is - it's a deadline for myself.
Hopefully, I get over this soon. I usually have so many thoughts and ideas in mind so I really wanna get that going. I've done a couple of paintings in the last weeks since I cleaned up my craft room (finally, hooray!) so I really am hopeful I'd be more productive than this.
#AZN Driver Incoming!
Took me this long to update - as usual adulting and laziness has taken over and I just feel like I have so much on my plate that I can't prioritize anything other than work, paying bills, and sleeping. Harsh reality.
Anyways, last May 24th, I finally took the courage to take my driver's test for the first time! I've had my learner's permit since October of 2016 but I just never felt confident doing it.
Oh, trust me - my toes were cold. Like dead cold. Like colder than a frozen deer buried in -20°F!
Thankfully, the examiner who rode with me was super nice! The test itself was brief and I did score a couple of deductions because I didn't look left and right at some intersections but I did, but ok, I guess it's still fair enough!
Oh and one thing he pointed out - you stayed 5mph over speed limit. Try to avoid doing that.
Dude, who drives 25mph at 25mph? LOL
Needless to say, I passed!
...and no, I'm not showing you my dumpling driver's license! ^_^
Here's my first time driving alone, while AlexBear was sleeping. Enjoy!
What have actually changed?
Why does time fly by so fast?
It's quite annoying, to be honest. I have so much in mind - so many things to do, places to visit, things to make, images to capture, and so.. and so.. but there seems to be so little time. Over the last couple of years, AlexBear and I have managed to stabilize our finances and we're pretty much in a good standing.
Unfortunately, I feel like time has become a lot faster and I find myself extra lazy.
What have I accomplished in the past few months?
Honestly? Nothing LOL.
I think I've slacked a little bit too much. I don't think I wasted my summer tho, so far so good. Have been to a couple of events. Not a lot of trips. Hopefully next year will be more fulfilling. I'm hoping to finally get back to planning my activities and actually sticking to plans.
Time to move my butt - and I've said that too often than not. I probably should just stop promising myself and go with the flow.
If you don't know yet - I have an Etsy shop! I sell charms and jewelry and now I've expanded my line to a lot of other custom wood works. I don't have new charms up, but I'm working into adding more. I have also decided to create a new Youtube Channel where I can put my DIY stuff and more!
Please subscribe and follow us for more cute and nice stuff ^_^
My obsession with French Macarons started a few years ago when I was still living in the Philippines. My office used to be in a building right next to a mall, so my colleagues and I frequently go there for lunch or dinner. One fine afternoon, while walking around the Mall of Asia, I passed by this French bakery called Tous les Jours. I quickly saw the colorful cookies and checked it out, and oh my crap (I'm trying to be child-friendly here, but I really did say profane swearing lol), they are expensive.
At 28php (around 60 cents) a piece, it's not a very cheap delight for daily consumption.
Well, it was still so enticing so I really couldn't help myself and tasting it was a big mistake - it's so delicious! I'm a big cookie person. I love cookies, period. But macarons are my... sin cookies. I can't resist these.
My Sweet Dream Come True
One of the things that I really loved when I moved here is have my own oven and my pink Kitchenaid mixer! Makes life a lot more sweeter. So okay, it's my turn to make these yummy treats! I've been here for almost three years now but I never really took the initiative to make the macarons.
It's another one of those impulse buy days, we were walking in the grocery and walked past the baking aisle. I thought, oh lets go grab some almond flour and powder sugar... and make macarons! I checked three different recipes and figured how much I would need. I have the rest of everything I need back home since I do bake every now and then.
The first try came out pretty nice! I think I underfolded it though, they didn't rise up as much as I hoped that it would. I'm sure I could do better!
I did the first attempt on a Thursday night and I was really glad they were good enough to bring to work. I really made a lot of happy team mates. So I figured - I just need to perfect the look. Taste-wise, they are awesome.
I thought the first batch was too sweet, so I tweaked the ingredients and... well.. they came out too flat and over folded... Still not bad, just needed to tweak it more!
I wasn't really happy with the previous results so I used a very similar ratio of ingredients as my first one - and I think I actually made my meringue and everything else perfect... except that I didn't fold it enough! You know, the cut and fold part - I didn't do it as much as I should...
So my little angels of delicious cookies puffed up to become crunchy meteorites!
They are still delicious! Yay!
So despite looking like flat patties and space meteorites, the taste is still "heavenly" according to my team mates at work! I'm really happy that they liked it, so I guess I'll be making more. In fact, I'll be making more this Wednesday. #MacaronLife #NoRagerts
Spring is fast approaching, and March hasn't been really nice to most people so far. For the past few weeks, all I've been saying alongside everyone else is that "this week's been rough" and it just gets worse. A lot of things also happened, at work, with the family. It's been a roller coaster of emotions and all I could hope for is for everything to get better.
I'm really trying to be positive and I'm know for sure I've had worse days.
We all have our battles, others lose their fight. It doesn't mean it's the end of the road for everyone. While I know things are easier said than done, keep the flame inside you burning. I always keep in mind, this life is not mine - I live for the ones I love.
The Craft Life
Arts and Crafts = My Life
That's how it's always been growing up and I've always loved making things. Creating basically anything is fun for me. I never thought that moving to the USA would open so many possibilities, and I have to say that I'm really glad that I got all these opportunities. I have to be very honest that there's so many things I didn't know actually existed - and even if they did, it was really expensive back home that I didn't really had the thought of getting into it.
It didn't stop me from doing art though. My mom used to make paper basket and dolls, and I would help her. I used to make my own as well. I painted, did photography and anything else creative - color inspires me so much and, simple as it sounds - it makes me happy.
Before I actually moved here, I got into clay crafts. Since we didn't have an oven, I bought air dry clay from Japan.
This is where my shop Starr&Sparkle started. When I moved to the US, then I started selling the same crafting supplies.
My own craft room, how exciting!! It all started as an office when I was working online at home. Obviously I started to have more stuff for crafting. One thing that I really love about being here is that I have the supplies I need. Thank you Joann, Hobby Lobby, and Michael's for making me extra broke and happy!
A couple of months later we moved to the lower unit apartment, which had a different room setup. This time I didn't have a craft room anymore!! So, I ended up taking up the supposed dining area and made it my craft corner.
During the same period, I discovered crafting machines. I also got a sewing machine gift, and eventually had access to woodworking tools and machines. Heaven omg! What else could I ever want right? (An X-Carve, that's exactly what I want & am getting next ^_^) This lead me to learning a lot more of other things to do which is super awesome. I mean, I will always choose a day at home crafting over partying. Omg, I think I am getting really old.
My Small Paradise
I'm a hoarder. That's not even a question or a mystery. I admit - I hoard almost everything.
With that being said, my supplies and everything else just keeps accumulating. My small paradise where I create is quickly expanding. Reasons to buy a house: need own bigger craft ROOM.
Today's goal : Get something done!
So this is an actual footage of today's mess! It's now time to get something actually done - create things with love <3
I treasure my weekends. Very much. I really hope that it lasts a lot longer, don't you feel like we all have too much weekdays?!
Today's just a typical Sunday morning, nothing special. The day in itself that I can just relax (like yesterday) makes it special enough. I just wish I can curb my epic procrastination and actually do something worthwhile.
Well, as lazy as I am, I cherish every waking day. I think I get to appreciate it more on weekends - because I don't have to hurry to get ready for work. I usually wake up early, as if I'm going to work, but everyone's still asleep. I know this is something I should appreciate very much. I've been warned, having kids will soon rid of this luxury. Not that I'll be having any cutie pies soon ^.^
The best part of my Sunday morning is waking up to this...
Okay, so maybe that wasn't so fair to capture a stolen sleeping shot! LOL!!
Actually, this is not the actual wake-up photo. We're usually cuddling and I guess it's too much sweetness to capture (in reality, I look like crap all the photos I took were horrible lmao!). But to wake up next to the ones you love is priceless.
Especially when you got a droolly pup right next to you... makes the morning even better!
And the procrastination begins...
Now, I get up at around 8am - and have all the time in the world to do something worthwhile. Alexbear doesn't really get up until like 11am or noon. All the fun stuff to do, right!!!!???
Nope. I'm lazy AF and I waste the first few hours rolling in bed, taking photos, rolling some more and finally... playing some games on my phone (which I am very tempted to do right now, that I mentioned it. But I won't. Fight the urge. The ADD is taking over... must not).
No I didn't play on my phone. I did check tho. For messages.
(I ended up going to the kitchen instead, washed the dishes.. and oh right, blog... 4 hours later)
It's a good Sunday.
...and hopefully do something for real!
My craft corner is such a mess, just waiting to be actually used for longer periods of time ^_^
Finally!! I now have a scroll saw!
I've had it for a couple of weeks now, but I really haven't used it for anything. For some reason, I just haven't been in the mood to actually create anything lately. But then, I'm still glad that I got it - it was a great steal to begin with.
It was kinda hard to decide which scroll saw to choose. I have been planning to get one just for my hobbies and thought that the Dremel one will work best. I talked to Alexbear about it but he and his dad suggested that I get something more reliable, since I do tend to make a lot of stuff.
After a lot of contemplation, we decided to just drive by Sears and check out what they got - afterall I've been thinking of getting their Craftsman Scroll Saw. From the reviews and blogs that I've read, the Craftsman Scroll Saw is a good start for entry level woodworkers. It's cheap, and not really complicated to use. The biggest setback is the vibration - but that's something that I'll find out when I actually start using it.
I got it set up in the basement. I don't know yet if I will bolt it down or not. I'm yet to figure it out and see if what they claim to be really bad vibration is really bad.
Plans for the future?
Ah yes, the lovely, lovely X-Carve. So it's like the Cricut of Wood working. It's basically a CNC machine for small scale wood projects. It can cut and engrave wood, acrylic and (again, from my research) some aluminum.
This baby right here is about three times the price of my Cricut Maker. I have options, but I opt to get the largest one because I don't really think the price for a 500mm justifies it - so I'll get the 1000mm and go from there.
It will take some time before I could actually go get it. It's a lot of money for me, and I have some other things to prioritize so unfortunately, as much as I want it now, it's really gonna have to wait.
In the mean time, I'll be doing more projects starting next week. Craft fair is coming up, and gotta step up my game. I've been just too lazy, winter is getting to me!
I've always kept a diary growing up, and come the digital age I always maintained a blog - until life got too busy.
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