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Manila Diaries: Mitsuyado Sei-Men (and more!)

May 2015: MNL lunch dates

Hello, dolls! Hello, Halloween!! I am so excited!! It’s baby A’s first official Halloween. I never really got to experience Halloween as a kid so I am really thrilled to be a stage Momma to baby A lol.

MNL will always be in my heart. Whenever I meet someone who just moved here in the US, they often ask me how I deal with homesickness and being away from my family. I tell them that it takes time and the first step is to accept the fact that we are creating a new life here in the US — making room for bigger things. Living here felt normal after I got my own routine — a stable job, my “spots” aka places I go shopping, and friends (that turned into family) that I hang out with.  I am fortunate that I get to see my family every year, especially now that they can visit us. After buying a house and baby A, my heart told me that Baltimore is home too. I consider it as a blessing to have 2 homes on different sides of the world ❤


Another common question I get asked is “does A like going to the Philippines?”. I am lucky to be with a man who LOVES Asian food….SO MUCH! He is just as excited as me whenever we go home to the Philippines. He gives me a list of restaurants that he wants to go to and snacks he would like to bring back with us.


I honestly never heard of Mitsuyado Sei-Men prior to our trip. A kept on talking about it like he lived in the Philippines for 21 years lol. He was so happy when I told him we could go for lunch. (more…)

Washington DC: Summer 2015

Hello, dolls!! Hello, FALL!! ❤ I am extra excited about fall this year because of all the activities I have planned for baby A. I can’t wait to decorate our house and light up my pumpkin spice candles. The crisp weather just makes everything seem perfect, even when there are a million of crazy things happening around me.

I wish I could enjoy this beautiful season with my sister. She is the perfect sidekick for me whenever I go on adventures, although I have to admit baby A is starting to take over her place 😉 December is right around the corner and I am honestly excited and nervous about it. I can’t wait for baby A to be with his Lolo, Tita, and Titos again.


Sissy love ❤

So hard to be away from you for this long!!


For Chella’s first family day in the US, we went to Ikaros for lunch.


Wedding Diaries: The Little Things

Winter 2015

Hello, dolls! Hello, September! I know summer is not over yet but fall is making an early entrance this year. I am actually not sure how I feel about it. I love fall — the perfect weather, the color of the leaves, and all the activities that I have planned for our little family! But, am I ready for the layers of clothing and the super cold weather that comes after? That’s the question.

Two years ago, I spent my September preparing for our big day.  Last year, I embraced being a new Mom.This year, I am spending my weekends going on adventures with my boys. I am on cloud 9!

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One of my best friends Chelsey designed our invitation. It’s everything that I wanted it to be. I remember telling her I love white and gold and sent her a couple of pegs…and voila! Our invitation is done! I believe I am not hard to work with, I am straight to the point and I make sure I am clear with what I like and don’t like — making it easy for my suppliers to deliver.

I loved everything about our invitation!! My Dad took the design to a local invitation shop in the Philippines so I had no idea how it will look like until he sent me the actual invitations. The excitement definitely kicked in as soon as I held them!

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I had a minor accident in January 2015. Long story short, I lost 2 diamonds on the side and cracked the one in the middle. I was so upset about it mainly because I did not have my engagement ring until the week before we left for the Philippines (March 2015).

When A told me that he finally picked up my engagement ring and our wedding bands, I was so happy!! I felt naked being out without my ring!


Got an idea from Pinterest. I sent our wedding invitation to The White House, Walt Disney, and Queen Elizabeth II. In return, we got congratulatory letters from them.


Letter from The White House.


I truly enjoyed going to pre-cana. It’s a prerequisite for couples who are going to get married in a Catholic church. I know some couples feel obliged to go to pre-cana, because on top of being busy with planning the wedding, you spend n hours listening and watching about marriage. I enjoyed going because of our instructors and I felt like it was a different adventure with A. We got married in the Philippines but I decided to do ours here in the US because it was better for our schedule.



I looked forward to the activities that we did every week. I felt like I was in school again but this time I got to learn about A 😉


On our last day of class, we had a mini gathering with the other couples. We were assigned to bring a dessert so I made my favorite chocolate tart recipe the day before. I had to work late and forgot to put the berries, so I had to rush myself and do a 2 minute berry fix. Not the best looking but definitely a goodie! haha




St. Joseph’s ❤



Bagel and lox with cream cheese from TBH – favorite quick breakfast when I am running late! lol


Ravioli is life!!!!!! ❤


Shopping on a Sunday was a treat for us before just like this ice cream!We hardly had Sundays off together,so being able to spend full weekends as a family is definitely a dream come true for us!! ❤

A and my strawberry yogurt with graham crumbs!



Historic Ellicott city


me outside Portalli’s

Date night with the fiance ❤


I was so happy when he took me to Portalli’s. not only because we were out on a Sunday night, but because the neighborhood is beautiful!


Our next date spot.




Mussels in Tomato Sauce


Braised Pork Shank with Polenta

This was really tender and we both loved the pork shank and polenta. However, the sauce was a little disappointing. We could tell that they used beef base and it overpowered the natural flavor of the braised pork shank.

Back when I took a million selfies 😛


A’s wedding suit fitting

Talk about last minute, he decided to do this 2 months before we flew to Manila!



Can’t believe our weekend is over already!!!!! #MondayBlues



Wedding Diaries: Good Morning Husband

04.22.2015: First Day of Forever

Hello, dolls! Hello, August!! The past 3 weeks have been very eventful. This is my first summer with full weekends off. We’ve been saying “yes” to most invitations because we can now. It feels great to be able to plan things ahead of time because we know we can actually go on adventures without going through hoops just to get decent days off. Our weekends are booked until September 9 — so it has been pretty crazy since July 29 (and I am loving it!).

So a month ago I started rewatching One Tree Hill. I can’t believe that I still remember most of the episodes, most especially how it’s a decade-year-old!! Meaning, I graduated high school 10 years ago!!! I remember watching OTH and almost missing my graduation practice. I realized that majority of the songs and artists on my playlist were from OTH. I find myself singing in every episode!!

I know we are still 8 months away from our anniversary but life has been really great for our little family lately. Each day reminds me of the feeling I had the day after our wedding.


Our morning view.


❤ ❤ ❤



Angelfield’s Tarragon Tea

I am not a big fan of this tarragon tea. We all thought that the tarragon was too overpowering for a cup of water. Less tarragon would make this really good!


Century tuna for breakfast is love!!!!!! ❤  #SimpleJoys


Breakfast Crew

We had Angelfield’s all to ourselves. All the rooms were cozy and being in a sanctuary made us feel relaxed before and after the wedding.


Angelfield’s will forever be special!!! ❤


Taal Volcano



One of the best things about April 22? Waking up and knowing that we have the rest of our lives to go on adventures together.




Probably the only time we will all ride the jeepney together. On our way up to the Palace in the Sky.




Everyone enjoyed the cool breeze and amazing view!




Missing my Batutsy!!!! ❤


Especially because he takes perfect Instagrammable pictures of me! lol



taho is life!!!


As baby A would say “vroom vroom!!”


Daddy’s girls!!



Lunch with a view

My brother Renzo suggested RSM Lutong Bahay. I am glad that we tried something new as a family.



Fresh Buko Juice, please!!!! ❤


Fried Tawilis

One of my favorite things to eat when I am in the Philippines. Crispy fried tawilis!!


Inihaw na Pusit

All time favorite!!!



A meal is not complete without 2 servings of rice per person! lol


Pancit Canton


Kare Kare

Who else agree that the bagoong is the best part? haha



Our trip to Tagaytay will not be complete without bulalo!!


…and crispy pata.



Chop Seuy

Veggies to “balance” all the meat on our table.


Kalderetang Kambing

Anther favorite!!! I was finally able to make A try goat!!!


…and of course, sisig!!!! 

I pretty much eat sisig every day when I am in the Philippines. #HelloCalories



Being touristy



First adventures as Mr. and Mrs. Stavrides!! ❤



R ❤

The “Ate” Diaries

06.06.2015: Dream Come True

Hello, dolls!!! Hello, summer!! ❤ “Ate” in Tagalog means big sister”. Before I became baby A’s Mommy, I was a super Ate first to my sister Chella. Two years ago we were able to cross off a big goal from our list — for my sister to come here in the US. It wasn’t an easy process, but with lots and lots of prayers and guidance from above, our dream became a reality.

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I remember being SUPER excited to see her. I had a long list of places to go and things for us to do while she was here. I was excited to show her how life is here, most importantly to see her grow and learn how to live life away from our parents.


I remember telling her, “okay here, you have to do your own laundry. If you are hungry you can’t just open the fridge and look for something to eat, the first thing to do is to make a list and go to the grocery and then plan your food for the week (or order take out but that will cost more)”. Living on your own is not easy…period. (more…)

Mommy Diaries: We Are Home

06.29.16: Cider Mill, meet Alexander.

Hello, dolls!!!Happy Birthday my baby A ❤ What a year it has been!! I still can’t believe that my baby A is now 1 year old!! I can only look back to the past year with lots and lots of smiles. Baby A brought a lot of happiness to our lives that I can’t think of a day that made me wish things were different. Everything that happened last year lead us to being happier and better.

I could go on and on talking about him all day, and I would still find myself saying “geez, I can’t find the right words to describe how much I love my boy!”.


It feels like it was only yesterday when we brought baby A home from the hospital. I remember feeling scared and unprepared. Scared because I knew that as soon as we walk out of the hospital, our new beautiful reality is going to start. I don’t know why I felt unprepared. I had all of the support that I need, diapers and wipes enough to last for more than a year, and a loving home to welcome baby A. I guess it’s normal for a first time Mom to feel like that.


It took us 15 min. to get home, the sun was shining bright I remember — a beautiful day to remember. The first 5 minutes in the car was calm, we were enjoying the nice breeze of air from outside. As soon as baby A realized he was in a different environment, he started crying. It was the first time we had a baby crying in the car with us so A and I got a little bit scared lol. (more…)

Newlyweds in Charm City

05.2015 – The real adventure begins

Hello, dolls! Hello weeeekend! ❤ June is such a special month for us now. Before June would just come and go, we do not plan anything big — just occasional weekends out of Baltimore and lots of eating out. June is sweeter and brighter now because of baby A. June is birthday month and I can’t wait to make it special for him every year! ❤

There has a been a lot of good changes in our lives since A and I got married. I remember before, we settled for “dinners at home” once a week. We would eat out at least 3 times in a week. We spent more time at work and we were okay with it. We wanted to save money to buy a house, we achieved that in less than 10 months! After we bought our house, we welcomed baby A. In just a year and a half our lives became even better and our goals changed — for the best. Embracing dinners at home every night (well almost because we enjoy our weekends by eating out) almost 3 months ago was a change that we’ve been yearning for since baby A was born. I’ve been telling my Mom that it feels weird to think about dinner this much. Thank God she is here to help around the house, otherwise, I would lose my sanity.

Looking back to our first year as a married couple, I am happy with every choice that we’ve made.

Our first week back in Baltimore was pleasant. A and I did not have to deal with a lot of adjustments because we were going back to our “normal life” with rings on our fingers. So let me look back to a couple of fun memories from our first week as newlyweds in Baltimore.


We were still feeling a little adventurous since we just came back from the Philippines. We wanted to do something that would remind us of our trip so we went to Lexington Market — cheap simple food with a touch of adventure.



This..right here is what we call an “adventure”. Things that we don’t normally see at restaurants or groceries.


Short ribs… YAS!


Walking around Lexington Market was a bit overwhelming to me at first. Not because I am not used to the environment. There were so many good choices and I wanted to try them all.




Good food for cheap!



The main reason why we went to Lexington Market.


His agenda: tongue and chopped liver sammmich!




Yes please!


I love how most places sell smoothies!!


Wall Street Turkey


A definite must try, fried chicken! ❤


Perfect place to go to when sick. Pho date with my man!! ❤



Before baby A, I used to take gazillion pictures of A. Now, I hardly have any solo pictures of him on my phone! lol


One of my favorite things to do with him — grocery shopping! 🙂



Fun dinner with great friends!!! ❤


After church brunch. Perfect food to eat after hearing mass? Spanakopita!


…and of course, I dragged him to the mall after brunch!lol



Memorial Day weekend in New Jersey ❤


My first time to play mini golf!



Random Eats


Crepe for breakfast is always a good idea 😛


…and tacos for lunch? an even better idea! 😉


Can’t wait for our adventure this weekend!



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