Thursday, August 29, 2013

Homeward Bound Plus #tbt

Circa 1992 (Wow, I'm old!)
This time tomorrow, I'll be on a jet plane to my homeland of Texas. Texas is very special to me because not only do my parents currently reside there, I spent a majority of my childhood in the Lone Star State Yes, I was a military brat and got to live in pretty sweet places, but when my dad got an assignment in Austin, Texas, my parents made plans to set roots.  Austin is where my parents purchased their first ever home (and they even still live in that amazing house). The picture above was the lot my parents bought before the house was built! Before it was finished, we stayed in an apartment and closely monitored the construction to completion.  It was an incredible experience, which I still remember!

It's probably obvious, but I'm the little girl that's running all over the place in the back and the two amazing women standing in the driveway are my grandma and mom.

My trip to Texas is two-fold. First off, I wanted to make a couple trips down there so I can do wedding stuff. My soldier and I are getting married - again :) - in my childhood church, so I'm down there for some appointments. Also, my dad's birthday is this Monday and with the holiday, I thought this weekend would be a perfect one!

AHHHH, I'm incredibly excited to be home again, even if the weather is going to be 100+ degrees! :)

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

One of the Most Striking Buildings in NYC

I mentioned in my first #WhereIWorkWednesday that my office is located in the Gramercy/Flatiron District.  To be more specific, I am just about three blocks away from the Flatiron building.  I actually have to pass the front of the building every day to get to the subway from work. There are always TONS of tourists out taking photos in "Flatiron Plaza," the area in front of building and they also set up tables and chairs for bystanders to sit down for as long as they would like. It's pretty cool!
Honestly, I haven't sat in the Plaza myself since I took my job about four years ago. It's crazy to think that I haven't spent one afternoon eating my lunch at the Plaza. I would occasionally sit on a bench in Madison Square Park (spoiler alert: which will be the focus of another post!). Maybe now I'll be inspired to actually spend a nice day eating lunch there?

The epicenter of the Gramercy/Flatiron District is the Flatiron building. It's a very distinct triangle shaped structure that is the fork between Fifth Avenue and Broadway. The building itself has a lot of history. It was built in 1902 and immediately become one of the most unique looking buildings in New York City. What's crazy is that the particular corner nook of the city that has the Flatiron hasn't changed much since 1902.

Flatiron Building circa 1903!

Above is a 110 year-old picture I took from Wiki Commons. Below is a picture I took on my walk in front of the building to my train.

I thought I would do a comparison shot of the building in black & white and color. Doesn't the 2013 black & white version look nearly identical as the 1093 version?! (Besides all the modern people and horse and buggies in the old photo.) You can also see the dome-like thing on top of the building to the right of the Flatiron in the 1903 photo and in the 2013 photo they are restoring it.

The Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Awesome Opportunity for Military Families to Win Big for Their Babies!

To all the military mommies and daddies out there with young kiddos, check out the flyer below! It's an awesome giveaway and getaway opportunity from Plush Little Baby, exclusively for military families!! Do you know of a deserving family? Then, enter them for a chance to win big! I couldn't help but share this amazing opportunity to y'all after reading about it. My husband and I don't have little ones yet, but I can only imagine how much it would be to budget in a new family addition. Be sure you note the deadline, you only have 10 days to enter!

Check out more details here:

PS: How many of you enter contests/giveaways? I'm just curious because, if so, I'd love to share more military specific ones with you! Of course, only if it makes sense. :) Thanks everyone!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

My Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle

Something that I've never mentioned before: I've lost nearly 60 pounds in the last three years. I'm a short woman (5'1") - and actually have a pretty wide bone stature.  In high school, I was pretty much a size 6/8 and that was normal for me. Then, in college, I gained weight and became a size 8/10. It was embarrassing, to say the least, that year after year my weight would slowly creep up.

When I graduated college, I knew I wanted to take my life back and start living healthy. My college diet consisted of cheap carbs, including pizza, pasta, bagels and other breads. Also, I had a huge love for soda, which would contribute to unnecessary sugars and calories. I would have at least one can of soda a day and really, on average two cans a day. Also, I had a bad habit of going out drinking (talk about more unnecessary calories!). Now that I'm typing all this out, it's crazy to think that I just didn't care about my body enough to realize what I was eating and drinking. I was going through a rough patch in my life. A year before before I graduated college, my high school sweetheart and I broke-up after six years of dating (a very long time in this day and age...!). Also, with college graduation coming soon, the hardcore responsibility was too much for me to handle. I pretty much ate all my worries away.

At the start of 2010, I took initiative. I just got a real fulltime job and finally felt like I had lots of things to look forward to! I signed up for a gym membership with the New Year's resolution rate. From there, I would plan at least 3 trips to the gym for 45 minutes and then I would regulate what I eat. I cut out soda completely and I controlled the portions I ate. Also, I didn't make it a priority to monitor my weight.  Actually, I didn't weigh myself at all. My ultimate goal when I started my gym membership was to be healthy and from there, I was hoping the weight would come off as a result for eating right and working out.

I was correct!

In my yearly doctor's appointment check-up, I found out I've lost 20+ pounds from 2010 to 2011. I was ecstatic! The doctor even commended me! It was just the motivation I needed to keep going! At the very beginning 2011, I met a very special man, my now husband, the fit and sexy soldier. Even with how I looked then, he fell in love with me. I just continued my own regimen with personal motivation. My husband and I would make sure we kept ourselves active together. I loved hiking and being outdoors with him. In addition, I found that I really (and I mean really!) enjoy Zumba and any other dance fitness classes! I continued my cardio workouts on the treadmill and then added two dance fitness classes a week.

To my delight, I lost another 25 pounds from 2011 to 2012 (and yes, I didn't weigh myself at all again! The doctor was the only one that told me my weight at my yearly visit)! I told my husband (at the time boyfriend) about my weight-loss and he didn't even realize! Everyone around me didn't realize! The people that would see me regularly didn't notice the pounds coming off, but when I pulled some pictures from years past, I think you can immediately tell the difference!

Now, I am feeling awesome! I can't tell you how proud I am of myself too. My current goal is to maintain my habits and keep going as I am. I've added doing 5Ks here and there for extra motivation. The last time I was at this weight I was 13 year-old (about 15 years ago!!).

Picture taken Aug. 2013

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Delightful Saturday at the Flea Market

View of the Chrysler Building from Long Island City, Queens
Yesterday, my friend Karlene and I decided to head down to the Long Island City Flea & Food market. It's a fun outdoor market that local NYC vendors feature their work, including paintings and donuts.If you're ever in the NYC area on the weekends, check it out!

The weather was perfect - and we had a good time checking out the different vendors. I've been complaining for the past week that I wanted a "real" donut, not just one from Dunkin' Donuts. It was my lucky day because they had a donut vendor with fresh delicious donuts. I could not say no. :)

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Dad's Promotion Ceremony

My parents are my inspiration, especially in my own marriage. They were also married for a majority of my dad's 20 year career in the Air Force. Today's #tbt is from one of my dad's promotion ceremony in the late '90s. Don't they look fancy?

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where I Work Wednesday (1st Ever Installment)

I talk a lot about what's going on in my life here, but I've realized that I'm leaving out a huge component - my job. Not only am I married to a soldier, I have a career that I'm building. Balancing my career and military life is something I've been juggling for years now. I started doing so when I decided to date my soldier.

I thought I would dedicate the next coming Wednesdays for y'all to get a sneak peek at my life as a working girl in the City. Just like millions of other New Yorkers, I take the subway to work everyday, work in a high rise building and pretty much walk everywhere. Sometimes, I feel like I take things for granted, especially that I get to be in NYC everyday. I thought I should start soaking it all in because when my soldier gets back, things will be different.

My office is pretty much centrally located on the island of Manhattan. It's in what we call the Flatiron District and Gramercy area. I just take one train down from my apartment in Queens. There is always a lot going on by my office, I love it!

After work last Friday, I took a quick walk to the Herald Square area to run an errand. As I was walking north on Sixth Avenue, I had a nice view of the Empire State Building.
[Picture taken at the corner of Sixth Ave and 26th Street.]

Did you know that in the evening the Empire State Building shines different color lights based on a sponsor or holiday? The lights that will shine tonight are in honor of the PGA Tour and FedExCup Playoffs (blue, white, blue). FYI, for September 11, they will shine red, white, blue. You can check out the schedule here.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation 5K at Yankee Stadium

What an awesome run!

Several months ago, I mentioned that I planned on participating in the Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium.  Well, the day came and gone (this past Sunday!) - and I had such a great time!  This run used Yankee Stadium as its course.  We went up and down the stairs and ramps in addition to running on the warning track on the field!

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation is a unique organizations that provides funding for the brightest young scientists in their research in all types of cancer!  100% of all the proceeds that are donated to the foundation goes straight to the scientists and their research.

Read more about it here.

Of course, I didn't take many pictures as I was doing the run, but managed to take a few when we were handing out in the suite boxes of the stadium.

The "before" picture: My friend Mel and I participated in the race (as well as other members of Team Fearless)!.
They did have an official photographer there and I did order some photos, so I'll be sure to share more with you as I get them!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bring it on 5K!

Yesterday, I just went all out and ran 5K to see if I can hold out for the Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium this Sunday. I've been VERY bad about running lately and it didn't help that my dad was in town. I didn't run at all during his visit - and he was in town for 8 days!

I got really nervous, so last night, I got dressed and told myself...I'll run it!

Well, it wasn't my best, but I did manage to finish! There was a point at the end that I had to take a break and walk. I was SO close to running straight through. All in all, I didn't do so bad! I ran 5K in almost 35 minutes (with a walking break). My mile pace was 10 minutes and 49 seconds.

I'm incredibly proud of myself for having the stamina I have to run at 27 years old. I say that because just ten years ago, I couldn't even run through a mile! I'm the healthiest I've been my whole life - at least, as long as I can remember. Even in grade school, I hated running. As a child, I had asthma - very bad asthma, so it was very difficult for me to breath while running. I'm so glad that it practically went away (which is a little bizarre, but I'm not going to complain!).

Just shortly before my last organized run, I started using the Nike+ APP for the iPhone. I think I'm in love. It utilizes your playlists and tracks your distance. It also cheers you on and updates you on your status. Very awesome! When I ran yesterday, I used it and I achieved my longest distance with it so far (I've only used it a handful of times)! You can also go online and check your achievements and analyze your runs.

I think I'll run a couple more shorter runs before the 5K on Sunday. I feel prepared now!!

You can see where I had to "take a break" :)
What do you use to keep you in pace?

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy 6 month blog anniversary!

Whoa,it's been six months since I started this blog and it's been an amazing journey so far! I can't thank my readers enough for all the support and encouragement. I've met so many amazing people and learned so much in the last six months.

I started this blog, really, to help chronicle my life as a new Army wife and distract myself while my soldier is away.  I started reading military-themed blogs before I launched mine - and as I read through many different blogs, I found comfort with the people that have shared their military experiences. I only hope that my blog can offer my readers the same comfort!

Military life is unpredictable and I caught a glimpse of that as a military brat. I've never navigated through military life as a spouse though, and it really is a challenge! Now, with only about five more months in my husband's tour, we're waiting for orders. The most exciting news came to him earlier this month: there is movement. His orders are being generated as I type - and all the butterflies in my stomach are going crazy.

I'm excited to finally live with my husband when he gets back, but I'm also a little terrified. What will happen to my life here in NYC? I moved here in 2004, at the ripe age of 18 with HUGE dreams of workin' in the Big Apple - flash forward to 2013, I'm living my dream, now what? I've worked so hard to get to where I am today. My career is what makes me, me and I find so much fulfillment in it. I've been at the firm I work with for four years now and have established strong relationships. About a month ago, I had my yearly evaluation. I knew then, I would have to discuss with my boss my unpredictable future.

First, we talked about my work thus far. My strengths, what I need to work on and how we can better the firm. Then, when she opened up the discussion to me, I made the leap and talked about my future. I told her that the military is going to dictate where Rob and I live when he gets back (I've mentioned it in passing, especially after we got engaged). I warned her that I would most likely be leaving the city. With that said, I still want to be a part of the team. I continued to tell her that I would love to be considered to work remotely. I can do a majority of the work I do in the office from anywhere, really. There are only a few things that I currently do that would pose a problem, but they are all administrative tasks and not publicity work. We've hired someone else under me since I've started there, so naturally, the admin tasks should  be passed down. I absolutely LOVE my job and the people I work with, so I can't imagine myself being anywhere else. I was honest with my boss and told her how I truly felt about my situation and understood what she needs to do for her business.

My boss wasn't opposed to the idea of me working remotely. The fact that she was open to discussing it further in the future gave me hope. It made me think that, no matter what, I'll be fine where ever we end up. My work ethic is strong and I'm determined enough to pull through! Soon enough, my soldier will get his orders and I'll have to talk about it with my boss again. I'm confident and sure that I'll continue my PR work where ever the Army sends us!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Baseball-Filled Week with My Dad

Phew! I was so busy last week with my dad in town! Everyday, I would wake-up at my normal time for a full day at work (while my dad slept in) and would meet-up with him afterwards. When we would meet-up, we always had plans! Two nights of the week, we went to baseball games!

I think I've mentioned it before, but my family roots for the Yankees (my dad was born and raised in New York!!).  That doesn't go without saying that we're fans of New York teams in general. Anyway, where am I going with this? My dad still wanted to go see the Mets play in Citi Field. Both the Mets and the Yankees built new stadiums that opened in the 2009 season, but my dad has yet to watch a game at Citi Field.

We impromptu went to a game last Wednesday intending to buy tickets when we arrived at the stadium. My dad asked if they offered military discounts and they do, only to active service members (my dad is a retired veteran, so he didn't count). Then, I mentioned that my husband is active, but he's not with us.... The ticket booth agent got up to speak to someone. Unfortunately, the active service member has to be there to receive the free ticket. We then told him that we were still interested to buy the cheapest seats possible - and after that, he just printed us two tickets and said to walk away. I was in shock for a moment. My dad and I just received two free tickets that night from a very generous ticket booth agent. I can't thank the man, who ever you are Mets ticket booth agent, THANK YOU! My dad and I had a great time!

On our way to get our tickets!
The view from our seats.
I purchased the Yankee tickets ahead of time as an early birthday present for my dad. I made sure we had the best seats that I was capable to afford, which was field level in right field. The whole day last Friday was yucky. I was really worried that it would continue and the game would be cancelled! Lucky for us, the rain held out. They still had a delayed start and because of that, my dad and I were able to check out Monument Park! It's a really cool area of Yankee Stadium that recognizes influential people that have contributed to the baseball organization.

Anyway, now that my dad is gone, I miss him! I wish my mom was able to come, but soon enough, I'll be flying to Texas for the Labor Day weekend. I CANNOT WAIT!

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

I am a Filipino! (well, actually half-Filipino!)

My dad and I have been making the most of his visit in NYC!  After our weekend in Massachusetts, we've been roaming, eating and hanging out around town.  I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but I'm half Filipino!  My mother is full-blooded, straight from the Philippines, Filipino!  My parents met while my dad was stationed overseas - and the rest is history (maybe I should post about it another time!)!

Anyway, my dad found out about this restaurant called Jeepney.  It's not too far from where I work, just a 20 minute walk to the East Village.  My co-worker ate there before and raved about it, so I was easily convinced to try it!

We get there to find out that they are all booked up for tables...but the bar was available.  I didn't mind eating at the bar, especially when we traveled all the way there!  While sitting at the bar, I noticed a sign on it....

I thought it was awesome!  So, I took a picture to send my mom.  Then, my dad and I split two DELICIOUS dishes.

The Defeated Chicken: 1/2 roasted chicken and braised pigs feet with slow poached egg in Mindanao style adobo sauce
Sinigang Na Baboy: pork ribs, tomato petals, cabbage, long beans and onions in tamarind pork broth
If you haven't tried Filipino food before, you should definitely give it a go.  I'm loving seeing new restaurants spring up, it just means that it's getting somewhat popular.  To describe the food a bit, it's really a fusion of Asian and Spanish.  It's served always in the most part, with Jasmine rice.

What does it mean?
Jeepney - Usually brightly colored buses that are a form of transportation in the Philippines
Picture from
Mindanao - An area in the Philippines that's the second largest and southernmost island.
Sinigang - Soup that is mostly made with tamarin
Baboy - Pork! :)
Bicol - This is the region my family is from (represent!)! It's a series of islands that are in the middle-ish of the country.
Kumusta - Hello!
Salamat - Thank you!
Mahal kita - I love you!

I thought I would throw in some other sayings you might be interested to know about. :)

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Family Reunion: celebrating 100 years of the family farm!

Meet some of my family! Can you find me?
My dad flew in from Texas last Friday to attend a very special family reunion in Massachusetts as well as my grandparents that drove up all the way from Mississippi! There were more where that came from! My grandma's siblings all came up from their respective locations (from Pennsylvania to New York) to join the reunion too.

I would say, years of preparations went into this reunion by my great aunt and great uncle. My great uncle is the sibling of my great grandpa (my grandma's dad) and married a woman who inherited an amazing farm in Massachusetts. This family farm has been in the Plaza name for 100 years - and my great uncle Hayes has been managing it since the 70s.

Anyway, it was truly amazing to have so many people - more than 250 to be exact - gather in one special place. What's even more amazing is that we are all family and connected in one way or another. It was such a monumental event, the local paper even came to visit (that's where the family group photo came from!). (Here's the story!)

I had such a fantastic time meeting people and seeing familiar faces too! I was so honored to be a part of a awesome family!

Here are some small glimpses of the reunion through my eyes...

The family cows!
My grandparents and I!
The answer to where I am. :)

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