Monday, July 27, 2015

My Faith

I grew up Catholic with some Buddhist traditions thrown in.  I would remember waking up to hear Sunday Mass and then in the afternoon going to Narra temple to do some *pai pai*.  I was still a child and so *faith* was nothing more of a routine.  I didn't listen to the homily, I just sat with uncles and aunts waiting excitedly as they would bring us to line up with them to receive Holy Communion.  It was a different high and excitement for me back then.

As I grew up, I learned about being a Christian in my formative years.  It wasn't that religion was hard pressed on us - well, yeah - we had the first Friday Mass and then the receiving of Holy Sacraments.  But I didn't feel like it was forced upon me.  My mom was very open minded in telling us that she'd rather we go hear Mass because we want to rather than it be a chore to do every weekend.  I think it was when I was out of college - after studying abroad that I started hearing Sunday Mass regularly.

I remember, I was in my late 20's that I really started the journey of my faith.  I heard Mass every Sunday - I began really listening to the messages, really listening to the readings and homilies, and I started to sift through the priests that I wanted to listen to.  Let me be honest, there are some priests that say long homilies that don't make sense.  It's hard enough to sit through it - more so, put your faith in them, right?  But that's just me.  And then I found a Church nearby that I was excited to go to every Sunday.  I think it was God's way of making be go back.  And I think ever since then, I enjoyed hearing Mass.

Friday, July 24, 2015

EATs Paris: Robert et Louise


I'm glad that my Panget likes to eat and whenever we travel, we indulge once in a while.  This is another restaurant that my friend Kath recommended.  It was a busy Sunday - there were a lot of people walking in Le Marais, it was crowded but a nice crowd.  We were enjoying strolling through the streets when we happen to see people checking out the menu of a restaurant.  As Pinoys, we were curious and so my Panget told me to check it out.  And I did, I was surprised to see that it was the steak place Kath was telling me about - Robert et Louise.

We decided to go to another place since it was full, but vowed to come back since it was nearby.  I think it was the next day that we went back.  Hahaha!!  We were very excited.  I remember reading some reviews that restaurants in Paris would refused entry to patrons with kids in tow, yikes!  So before we entered, I had to ask - and they were nice enough to welcome us and even help us carry our stroller!  Wow, impressed!  I had the impression that French were snobbish and unhelpful (well, I experienced this when I visited in 1996!)

We were then given a menu, my Panget and I looked at the steak, ahahaha!  We're meat eaters - and so we decided to get the steak that was good for 2.  It was 800grams worth of steak - my Panget was skeptical and was asking me on and on if I would share it with him.  I was confused telling him YES over and over again.  I was wondering why he was worried and kept on asking me.  It was strange really - I thought maybe he wasn't himself?  Hahaha!!

True enough, when the steak was served:

It was HUGE!  Look at the steak in comparison to Kailee's hands!
So, this was why Panget was asking me.  I didn't realize that it was really big!  Hahaha.. I assumed that it was just small.  Don't ask me why but I guess I thought that 800grams was small.  I forgot that 200 more grams, it would weigh a kilo already!  Hahaha..

The steak was wonderful.  It was grilled to perfection.  I would prefer it be a bit more done, but my Panget likes it medium.  The fries was a different kind, as they used real potatoes and that's why I felt it was yummier.  I was glad to order red wine as it enhanced the flavor of the steak.  The meat was really good and juicy!  It was really meaty, you know - a *manly kind of meat* (imagine a deeper voice saying this) - it wasn't full of fat yet it was very tender.  My Panget and I enjoyed the steak very much - we were taking our sweet time because of the size.  Hahaha!  We cut some pieces for Kailee to try and she liked them.

This is the red wine that I got.  I wasn't able to ask for the name.  I'm so sad, because I really loved this red wine.  Even my Panget agreed that it was good.  I never tasted wine this good!  Honest!

Escargot - snails!  So good, even Kailee liked it!  Haha!

Our server suggested to order this sausage dish for Kailee, and she loved it.  We were surprised because she ate them all without struggle!  Add to that the pieces of steak we cut for her.

Looks tiny?  Well, it extends to the basement.  I'm amazed on how space is utilized in Europe!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

When your brain - FREEZES

I'm proud to say that this doesn't happen often.  Hahaha!  Ang yabang ko, but seriously - I think this has happened very few times.  But then, ever since what happened - there are moments that I pause or space out.  The most recent brain freeze story is when we travelled last week.

Image grabbed from THIS page

I don't like doing things the last minute.  I usually prepare at least more than a week ahead, more often that not - I prepare 2 weeks before a trip.  This gives me more than enough time to anticipate whatever it is that I missed or forgot, a game plan sort of.  But for this trip - I planned it just a few days ahead.  I kept postponing the planning, thinking it was still far away.  I can't fully explain why - but I guess my mind and heart were somewhere else.  There were far more things that I was worried about and needed my attention more.  I thought to myself that I can probably wing it.  Hahaha!  It honestly did not occur to me that we were traveling - soon, it was only when I received an email on the travel did I realize that it was the following week already.  Apparently, there was a reason why I do things early.  Anyone who knows me, know that I prepare very well (even for out of town trips), as in very well.

I was left to plan what to do and bring - in less than a week.  I wasn't prepared.  It was literally a photo finish for this trip.  Really.  I wasn't used to this.  I wasn't prepared - mentally.  Brain FREEZE literally.

When we got to the check-in counter, I realized that we forgot Kailee's hand carry stuff.  Her extra clothes, hair clips, brush and etc., her water bottle, her milk bottle, her snacks, and most importantly - her medicines!  I tried to call the driver - but to no avail.  I couldn't believe I forgot it.  It was a good thing that the place we were going to, I was very familiar with.  I was worried about the medicines, since you can't easily buy medicines in a foreign land.  I just prayed that Kailee be blessed with perfect health during the trip.  While on the plane, Kailee kept asking for her snacks and water bottle!  I said sorry so many times because I forgot them!  Kailee was very understanding, which was surprising.  She would usually throw a fit because it was very early in the morning!  We had a close call though, when I let her play in the bath tub!  After bathing, she started coughing and then she said she wasn't feeling well - uh oh!  It was a good thing that there was a 24/7 supermarket nearby - so I ran and bought some meds.  I was clueless honestly because I couldn't understand what they were for!  Then I saw Panadol for children and I immediately got a small box.  I have to be honest, the only thing I know to give kids when they have fever is Tempra (Paracetamol) so when I saw the generic name of Panadol, I was skeptical - but then, I had no choice right?  It was a wonderful thing that the tablet was chewable, a lifesaver!  Then for her allergies, I just have her a small bit of my allergy medicine.  I know, I'm a bad mother for forgetting - but please give me a break, I wasn't my normal self.  Please don't judge.

Then my Panget likes his morning coffee strong, thus we always bring coffee with us.  The ones given on for free in the rooms don't suffice.  I pack them every single time.  But this time, while in the plane, it suddenly occurred to me that I forgot to bring it.  Sigh.  Another spaced out moment.  It was nice though that the lady in who was in charge of cleaning our room is very nice.  She gave me extra coffee.  I was really running on pure luck this trip!

I was really out of the loop and my mind was somewhere else.  I was telling my Panget, this wasn't me.  He just looked at me and said that I was going through something that's why my mind wasn't that concentrated on things.  I agree.  My mind is in shambles, well not really - but you know what I mean?  I am not yet 100% back - I'm still struggling somehow - trying to keep up with what should be done and what should not be done.  Confusing really.

When we got to our destination - I realized that I forgot something else.  My *hotdog* pillow that I bring with me ANYWHERE.  I forgot it.  I didn't get to pack it in.  That pillow has been with me since I was a baby - and it went with me wherever I went.  I brought it with me when I studied in Beijing.  I bring it on short and long vacations.  I never left home without it, and this is the first time EVER that I forgot it.  I missed it very much to be honest.  But what was I to do?  I forgot it.

So, this is what happens when your brain FREEZES.  This is how the mind works.  Strange really, but now I have a better understanding of why there are people who can't function 100% when they are going through something.  The brain is attached to some sort of emotion that can't fully make you function like before.  Is it a chemical reaction?  A chemical imbalance?  God only knows what that is.
Right now, I'm still in the process of getting back to where I used to be.  I can't seem to shake of the *what ifs* in my life because of what happened.  But readers have been very comforting in telling me to hang in there and that things will get better.  I know it will get better, but I'm not hurrying it up.  Time will tell.  But right now, I'm okay - doing good.  Hanging there.  I will forever appreciate the concern and well wishes.  I will still want hugs and smiles.

But there is one thing - the feeling of loss, that I think will never ever leave me.  To be honest, I think I was scarred for life.  I think I will take this with me, forever.  I will be physically okay, but mentally - I think it will be a constant.

Has something like this happened to you?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

EATs Paris: L'Entrecote de Paris

No idea what entrecote means, nor did I have an idea on what this restaurant served.  I was just told by my friend Kath to try this place out when in Champs Elysee.  Kath sent me a picture of their card and I kept it on my phone.  On the day we decided to walk along Champs Elysee - I was already secretly looking for this place.  I think the first few minutes of walking - I couldn't see it.  I was beginning to give up when the signage caught my eye!  It wasn't actually along Champs Elysee - it was tucked in one of the streets parallel to Champs Elysee.

This restaurant has a number of dishes on the menu, but their specialty here in L'Entrecote de Paris - is their Steak Frites and a burger dish.  So we ordered one of each.  I was glad that they carried a kids menu and I quickly picked the chicken nuggets - please don't judge me, but it's the one most likely to be eaten by Kailee.  The other choices were small burger and pasta, Kailee was not with those.

This is their burger dish.  I forgot how much this was, but it was good.  The size was just right for me and it wasn't very hard to bite into.  I must say though, that their fries are ahhh-mazing!  I love fries and this for me was one of the best that I've tried in my life.  It was crispy and soft in the inside.  You can actually hear a crunch when you bite into them.  I enjoyed it immensely, it was a great thing that it was unlimited - meaning, I could just ask for more and more and more!  Yes, unlimited - not just one or two servings.  I asked and asked, they just gave me plates full with smiles on their faces!  I was so happy!  Hahaha..  

This is their specialty - Steak Frites.  When you look at it, the serving seemed to be small.  My Panget immediately uttered *Magugutom ako neto!*  He judged the serving immediately.  But then as we ate and ate - he started to feel full!  When he finished all the steak he declared that it was very filling.  I had a bite or two and it was good.  It wasn't the best steak I've had, but it was good enough.  I love the sauce too!  I couldn't quite figure out what the sauce was, but it complemented the steak very well.

 I was so proud of Kailee because she finished all the chicken nuggets on her plate!  Look at her!  I was so happy and proud that I had to take this picture as *proof*!  Haha..  Kailee wanted to feel like an adult and so she had her own adult glass of water.  Hahaha!!

This is the dessert plate for of the kid's menu.  This was really charming.  Kailee was so happy to see the Kinder Surprise!  There was a Haribo ice cream with gummies.

We enjoyed our Parisian lunch at L'Entrecote de Paris.  My Panget felt like it was a tourist trap, but then who's complaining?  We loved the food, it was good, we were very satisfied - and I thought, that was enough.  Hahaha!! :)  This was my first ever experience with entrecote - and I personally enjoyed it so much.  So, thank you Kath for recommending this!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention

Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention.  I can't emphasize enough how much I love this product.  I've written about it twice - here and here, and I think this product deserves a third post.  Yes, this product deserves more than a two blog posts and now it's getting it's third.

Ever since I tried the product last year - there was no going back.  I've recommended this to friends and family.  My kids and I personally use this product.  I bring Grandma El's Diaper Rash Prevention + Remedy in my bag every day.  I bring a whole tube when I travel.  It's in my *must have* list all the time.  It serves as my lipbalm when I go somewhere really cold

I just came back from our yearly travel and it was more than timely, since going through what I went through - it was a welcome change (even if it was just a few days).  Since I am still waiting to expel it completely (naturally), I needed to wear napkins everyday for protection.  And when the environment  of the city we were traveling in is very hot and really humid and you walk practically 90% of the time - there is definitely friction somewhere down there.  On our second day - I felt an irritation - think of it being caused by the heat and of course *friction* (from all the walking) I'm sure our kids' diaper rash is caused by the same conditions.  I was more than glad and so relieved to have brought a new tube to Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention in my luggage.  So that evening, when we finally got to the hotel, I settled down and decided to take a bath.  After I bathed,  I applied it immediately.  I knew it was a miracle product as I've been using it ever since I learned about it.  But after applying some at that time - it was still really irritating, uncomfortable and a bit painful.  I put more product, just to be on the safe side.  I was relieved that it was towards the end of the day that I felt the irritation - perfect timing.

When I woke up the next day - the pain was gone.  No more irritation, no more pain - it was as if nothing happened!  I was really happy - I knew this product so well and I tell you, it's really a miracle product!  Thank you Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention, it saved my life (well not in the literal sense but, you get what I mean - I was staying a few more days and I having that irritation - it would ruin the trip most definitely)  So everyday, I put the product ever so thinly and it really helped.  After that one time, I never felt the irritation and pain - I was able to go through my travels without a hitch.  Thank goodness really for Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention.

A few weeks back, I got invited to Grandma El's launch.  I was so proud and happy because this product is distributed by my next door neighbor.  I believed so much in the product and I was raving about it to my blog friend (that were in the event as well).  I was telling them that I even used Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention as a lipbalm!  Yes - the product is that good - it can help your dry chapped lips, it smells wonderful and it tastes yummy (this is true!!, I'm NOT kidding).  I love this product very much that I have it in my bag, everyday (yes, I need to say it again and again!!)  Grandma El's also has lotions, baby washes and baby shampoo!

I am so happy that this product is very versatile - great for kids and adults alike!  It's not sticky, it spreads easily, it's in a tube (you can easily get the right amount of product and is sanitary!) plus, you don't need so much product.  A little goes a long long long way!  If you put this product side by side with Desitin, Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention is a runaway winner, hands down.  I have used Desitin since Kailee was born and I hated the fact that it was sticky, paste-y, it's so hard to wash off (I don't think you can even wash it off), and smells so bad!  Grandma El's Diaper Rash Remedy + Prevention is the exact opposite and is more magical, if you ask me.  Can you use Desitin on your lips?  No effing way!

SUPER thank you, Vanessa for bringing this product to our shores.  Now we have an alternative to that icky yucky diaper rash cream.  I swear, you need to try this product to believe it.  And yes, three posts here on my blog for the same product - I definitely LOVE this product.

Grandma El's products are available in Babyland stores, Robinson's Supermarket, and Metro Gaisano.  You may also check online shops like Lazada, Cudsly, Bambino Baby Shop and in Cebu - Bao Bao Babies.

Grandma El's Philippines is also in Facebook!