Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jr's birthday and Halloween 2009

I just realized I didn't write anything about Jr's birthday and Halloween, both back in October!
So for Jr's birthday, I took him to the Historic Hudson Valley sites up in Sleepy Hollow. First we went on a tour of the Rockefeller Estate. It was beautiful and really interesting to learn about the Rockefellers. The first picture is of the front of the estate.
Then we went to a Halloween celebration in Sleepy Hollow, followed by dinner at Harvest on the Hudson. The restaurant overlooks the Hudson River, and we had a nice table by the fireplace.
On Halloween night, we went to the Van Cortland Manor in Croton-on-the-Hudson where they had the "Blaze" for the whole month of October. There were thousands and thousands of carved pumpkins. It was really amazing to see.

Friday, January 1, 2010

How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions: Advice from the Experts

Here's an article from Time magazine today about ways to keep your new year's resolution.

How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions: Advice from the Experts

Apparently 35% of people who make new year's resolutions, don't even keep them for one day. Who's part of that group?!?!

According to
here are the top resolutions. Any of these made your list? Let's see if any made my list:

Lose weight - check

Manage Debt - that's I good one, I don't know why I kept it out, I will add it

Save money - I've already been doing that in '09 and will surely keep doing it in 2010

Get a better job - don't think I need to right now, but I would surely take a promotion

Get fit - check, kind of goes hand in hand with losing weight for me

Get a better education - check, in the sense that I want to figure out if I want to or not!

Drink less alcohol - don't need to

Quit smoking - don't need to

Reduce stress overall - I wouldn't say I'm a very stressed person so I don't really need to

Reduce street at work - part of what I like about my job is that it's not stressful, maybe it's the management I have above me, or maybe it's the fact that I have endured unbelievable stress at my prior employer

Take a trip - will do

Volunteer to help others - check

Health-e-cards for the holidays and New Year - had no idea what that meant, so I clicked on the link and they are e-card you can send people from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage healthy living in the New Year, promote safe activities year -round... check it out

My 10 resolutions for 2010

Really do I ever keep them????
Anyways, they just make us feel better, so here they are

1- Losing weight - ahah what a shocker, who doesn't have that on their list??

2- Volunteering more - I already lead a team of dog walker at a shelter in Williamsburg once a month, but I really feel like I should do more.

3- Start playing the guitar again - I would really love to be good at it, but like anything in life you need to be patient and practice.

4- Cook new recipes more often - at least once a week I would like to try something new and it's not like we don't have the cookbooks to do it.

5- Make some decisions about my career future - do I want to go back to school? when should I start my own company?...

6- Stop buying clothes just because I have a discount or because it's on sale - that one will be really hard.

7- Watch less TV even if Jr does - somehow I always feel like I have to watch TV when Jr does even if there are many other things I could be doing.

8- Hang out with friends more often - shouldn't be that hard, but it often is!

9- Update this blog more often

10- Manage debt

10 things I look forward to in 2010

In no particular order (somewhat chronological order)

1- getting my bike - Jr is bying me a bike for Christmas. I don't have it yet because the one I want only comes out in the US in Febrary, but I surely am excited to get it. Here's a picture of it. It's really cool and exactly what I want

2- Jr getting is bonus! I would say mine, but mine won't be anything as big as his!
3- moving in our condo
4- having our own washer and dryer
5- BBQing in the summer on our terrace
6- sunbathing on our private terrace
7- trip to Portugal, South Africa, and France
8- mom and dad's 60th birthday, they are both turning 60 this year
9- another promotion perhaps?!?!
10- another happy year with Jr and our 2 pugs!

Top 9 of '09

Now that 2009 is over, here are my 9 highlights of '09 (in chronological order)

1- Probably the best highlight of the year and it started the year pretty well in January when Jr got hired permanantly at Wal-Mart. He had been freelancing there for about 6 months, but finally got hired as a full-time employee. That was an awesome news. For those of you who know what we had been going through for the past 2 years, know how much this meant to us.

2- Getting tickets of the 2010 World cup in South Africa and planning the trip. Oh yeah, we never mention that! We applied for tickets to the World cup (which was a lottery) and we actually got tickets for one game. We are trying to get more tickets, but so far so good, we are going to South Africa in June. Here is a short outlook of our 2 weeks trip this summer
3 days in Lisbon, Portugal
3 days in Johannesburg, South Africa
2 days in Krugar Park, South Africa for a safari
1 more day in Johannesburg
6 days in Paris
We are so excited to go. The actual planning of the trip was not so much of a highlight but deciding to go definetely was. As you can imagine with such a big event like the World Cup, everything gets booked up pretty quickly so it was quite a nightmare trying to book everything. But it all worked out in the end, eventhough we are paying at least three times as much as we would have paid had we gone any other time of the year!
okay that was a long highlight!

3- Signing the contract for our condo. Everything happened pretty quickly and it's hard to believe but that was already last April.

4- My promotion at Macy's, but most importantly not losing my job with the merger last May. I was promoted from an assistant planner to an associate planner, now only in Active and Young Contemporary coats.

5- The award I won at work last November for all the hard work I did all throughout the year. Everything started last January when my boss and I had to plan for the entire Missy coat world (back then, we were doing the whole thing, now the area has been split into two). So we had to plan 8 departments and build buy sheets for every programs. We planned such a great assortment for each store that all the stores are so happy with their assortment and they say it's the best it has ever been. Everybody from our manager to the chief of merchandising are very excited about coats this season. And our business was doing so good until the cold never came in November! But since the cold weather decided to show up in December we are doing great again.

6- My sister Marie-Claude visiting me in NYC for the first time in the 8 years I lived here. (see full details below)

7- My trip with my mom in November to Prague and Vienna. (details below)

8- Being picked to be part of the Affinity Resource Team at work. Affinity is a new program we use at work to do our buys and plan each store. Eventually it is supposed to customize the assortment for every single of our 800+ stores based on how well each store sells a particular attribute that has been taged to each style we own. So anyway, one person for each family of business has been picked to represent and support their team. It was pretty cool to find out that it was the GMMs (General Merchandise Manager) and GPMs (General Planning Manager) that picked everyone on the team. Then at our first meeting our CMO (chief merchandise officer) and CPO (chief planning officer) told us that we were cherry picked to be part of this team because they believe we are the future leaders of the company. I thought that was pretty cool!
Also the team is mostly buyers and planners, but very few associate planners and associate buyers.

9- Finally but not least, my Green Card got renewed for another 10 years, so I won't be going anywhere for now. When I first got my Green Card, it was a conditional Green Card for 2 years because Jr and I were married for less than 2 years when we applied, so after 2 years, they want to check up on you and make sure you're still married.

Mom's travel

Other than going on trips with her 3 daughters, it seems like my mom was been out of the country more than she's been home this past year. To start back from Christmas last year, she spent
one month in Florida between December and January
one week in Vegas in April (I think)
then onto her trip with M-C to California for another week
one week in Croatia in June
that lead into one week in England
that lead into one week in Russia with Gen
one week in Israel in September
One week in Prague and Vienna with me in December
and then again one more month in Florida this December/January
You do the math, that's a lot of traveling in 12 months! Lucky her, right?
She said she wanted to stay home this coming summer, let's see how much of that will happen!

Prague and Vienna

My mom retired from teaching in June 2008 and one of her retirement project was to take all three of her daughters on a trip alone with her. First my older sister Marie-Claude chose to go to California, then my middle sister Gen chose to go to Russia, and finally my mom and I chose to go to Prague and Vienna together. We went from Thanksgiving weekend to the first week of December for a total of 10 days. We had a great time and both cities were beautiful. Prague is more medieval and Vianna is more like Paris. It was very interesting to learn the history of both cities, from the impact of the Holocaust to the Hofburg Empire, to the classical history of musician like Mozart. We experiences various entertainement in both cities. In Prague we went to the opera Carmen, which is actually a french opera but it was so hard to understand that I ended up reading the english subtitles! In Vienna we went to the Swan Lake ballet, a classical concert from the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic) orchestra, considered one of the finest in the world, and finally we went to the Spanish Riding School at the Hofburg Palace to see the world famous Lipizzaner stalions perform. Everything was amazing.
Here are a few pictures, I tried to limit them to 20.

View of Prague at night from Prague castle

St.Vitus's cathedral inside Prague castle

A view going down from Prague castle

Prague castle with the famous Charles Bridge

Day view of the city from Prague Castle

The famous astronomical clock in Prague

Christmas market in Prague

View of Prague from tower

Christmas market in Prague

St. Vitus's cathedral, I liked the gargoyle all around the cathedral

Again St. Vitus's cathedral inside Prague castle

Another view of Prague

The Jewish cemetary in Prague

Our bedroom in Vienna, just like a Palace!

Schonbrunn palace in Vienna, it's the summer residence of the Habsburg's family

Hofburg palace

One of the many Christmas market in Vienna, in front of City Hall
Stephansdom's cathedral in Vienna

Mozarthaus, yes it was Mozart's house

Spanish Riding School inside the Horgurg Palace

Rock of Ages ROCKS

Last October or November, one of our vendor at work took us out for dinner and to see the musical Rock Of Ages. It was absolutely awesome and we had so much fun. There was 6 of us, all pretty young girls and we just loved it. Our vendor had actually seen it once or twice before she took us, but she loved it so much she wanted to take us.
The musical is about a young rocker from the 80's that's looking for love. It's very cliche and quite vulgar. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to laugh plenty, is open to inappropriate jokes, and loves 80's rock. Not the kind of musical you want to take your parents to though!
Constantine from Americal Idol was the lead guy and after the show was over, my vendor and I were waiting together for our car service to show up and the actors started coming out of the theater and we were lucky enough to get our picture taken with Constantine, or I should say he took a picture of us with my Blackberry!

M-C comes to NYC

So I've been living in NYC for the past 8 years (hard to believe), moved 6 times, at one point spent up to 50% of my net salary on rent, had a total of 7 rooommates in the past 8 years and yet my older sister Marie-Claude had never made it down to NYC to witness any of it... until this fall. She came to visit us in NYC for the first time in 8 years. She of course had been to NYC before, but never to crash at our place like other siblings and friends have done.
In November she and her new boyfriend (that I was meeting for the first time) came for a short weekend. They had a good time, and so did we, and she promised to come back more often. After all why wouldn't you if you have a place to stay for free in NYC???
Can't wait to have you over again.

All about Park Slope

I've never lived in Brooklyn before and neither has Jr., but when we were looking at the different neighborhoods I fell in love with Park Slope. To some degrees I like it more than any neighborhoods in Manhattan. Park Slope is very family-oriented, all the streets are tree-lined, there is a huge park (Prospect Park) designed by the same architect that did Central Park, it's a small neighborhood with tons of mom and pop business. Honestly I could count on the fingers of my hand the number of chain businesses, everything is unique restaurants and boutiques. Park Slope, and Brooklyn as a whole, is a very "green" and hyppie neighbornood with tons of farmers markets.
Sounds pretty perfect to me!
As we discover more of Park Slope I will report my findings...

It's been too long again!

Well it's been another 6 months since we've updated our blog. I'm on the computer all day at work so when I get home at night I rarely turn on the computer. But today Jr is watching 3 bowl games in a row and it's really boring!
We haven't been up to anything too much different since last August. No we still haven't moved in our new condo. After having been told the middle of September, then the end of November, we are now looking at April-May. We are still excited about it and are looking forward to the day we actually get to live there. Until then we are still in Queens and can't wait to move out of here! We talked about buying a condo earlier in our blog, but we didn't go into too much details about it. It's a one bedroom, one bathroom condo with a private terrace and our very own washer and dryer, I can't wait! Here are some of the rendering pictures.

This is the kitchen, obviously!

This is the living area with our private terrace of 120 sq. feet

That's a picture of the whole building

The lobby with fireplace!!

The shared terrace

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Federrer vs Niemeyer

Last weekend Jr and I went to Montreal for my aunt's funeral. She passed away on Friday night of cancer. We left New York very early Saturday morning and we just came back to New York tonight.
Last night my sister, Marie-Claude, invited us to a tennis match in Montreal. It was the Rogers Cup tournament and her friend, Frederic Niemeyer was playing against Federrer. It was a good match, even though Federrer is #1, Niemeyer gave him a good challenge, or at least what it looked like one.

Vader's birthday

The night of Vader's birthday, August 6th, I was making red velvet cupcakes for one of my co-worker's baby shower at work and I made 2 little cupcakes for Yoda and Vader to celebrate Vader's birthday. Vader was really happy, look at his face and tongue! Yoda didn't mind it too much either!