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The Princess and the Etchoserang Frog

There's a lot of talk about someone becoming a Princess today and I was so excited to hear that.  I've always wanted to be a Princess.  So I thought - they were referring to me.   Apparently - there's this human somewhere halfway around the globe from where I live who is getting married to a real prince.  I am not really sure why people in our country would care about it.

Anyways - I thought it would be good to share one of my Princess photos with you.   I could not stand still when this was being taken so Uncle had to be with me.  I thought it would be good to caption it "The Princess and the Etchoserang Frog."  Please don't ask me what Etchosera means.  Moreover - don't tell Uncle I called him Frog.   I don't understand why he didn't want to be called as such - would he rather be called Princess?

Midori's Turn to Dine at Amici

Char Siew kept bugging me last week about his welcome dinner with Daddy at Amici.  He kept on asking me if I've been there.  He kept asking me why I think Daddy has not brought me to Amici.  I was getting so annoyed with all the questions that I finally confronted Daddy.  I asked him ( telepathically of course ) - why have you not brought me to Amici?   He quickly got the leash and I knew right then - we were going to Ayala Triangle Garden - where Amici is.  Char Siew?  He was left with Nanny.

Summer at Ayala Triangle Garden

Summer has started in Manila.  Our Summer doesn't seem to coincide with all of my anipals in Twitter.  They seem to be having Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Fall in the Southern Hemisphere.  Manila - like most tropical countries is experiencing the hot dry days.  So even if it's not officially summer --- we call it summer here where I live.

We brought my Water Bottle

Dogs need a lot of Water during the Summer months

Summer means school is out.  So there were a lot of kids at the park.  There were many of them who came by and said hello.  Char Siew never gets the kids because they're afraid of him.  But since I look like Snoopy - and Underdog - a lot of kids recognize me and they pet me.

Kids dropped by to say Hello

But we were there not for the kids.  We were there to go to Amici.  Oh my!  I love the place.  They have pasta and Gelato.  Daddy - thinks I'm too fat ( last time I weighed - I was 42 lbs. ).  So he just ordered Fried Mozzarella sticks.  He shared some of it with me.  Yummy.  He also had Mango Sans Rival.  And of course - I licked some Ice Cream off his fingers.  I love Gelato.

Amici's Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Mango Sans Rival Gelato Cake from Amici

So I went back to the House of Queens - a happy Beagle.  Char Siew was sulking in his corner - because he was left at the house.

I was one happy Beagle

Char Siew Sulking back home.

Beagoating Burberry

It was another lazy Sunday afternoon.

Then suddenly - I found an exciting toy to play with.

It's Daddy's sunglass case.  It's Pretty and Durable.  And they're from Burberry.

Then I got busted.  Daddy caught me.

So he took it away from me.  Hmph.

He saw that I was sad.  So he gave me this rubber slipper.

No way.  I don't want to Beagoat your non-Designer flip-flops.

I will just be vigilant.  Till I see another designer item to Beagoat.
Hmmm ... D&G Bag.   Nom-nom-nom.

Blogger's Note:  A Guest post from Midori the Beagle

All That Glitters is not Gold

All that Glitters is not Gold.  But that doesn't mean they're not pretty.  It just means they're not as precious as you think they are.

I wanted to play with my close-up filters - so I took some of the accessories from one of the queen's closet and took pictures of them.  I told them: Smile and they did.

Blue Ring from Flickr
Red and White from Flickr

Another Blue from Flickr

Shiny Shimmery from Flickr

Flowers at Flickr

Spring Cleaning

I've been trying to simplify my life.  To be honest - I don't really know what that means.  In fact, I am actually wondering if that's the right thing to do.  I have dreams of having a best seller autobiography - and I'm not sure if a simple life is what people would want to read.  People love drama.  I don't like to have drama in my life.  I want to live a life of peace.

So - not knowing where to start --- I turn to something that I can control - my closet.  I have tons of clothes.  However - more than half of them I do not wear.  They are either no longer in fashion - or - they no longer fit me.  I used to be 150 lbs.  I am now 172 lbs.  I like my shirts tailor fit - or slim fit - so there's no way I will fit into a lot of those shirts.  I kept them when I gained five pounds.  I continued to keep them when I gained 10 pounds.  At the back of my mind - I told myself I can get back to that old weight and I will fit into these shirts.   So I went through my closet - and kept those that I can still wear ( because they're still in fashio and I actually fit into them ).   All the others - I asked friends and relatives to check if they want to keep them.  My best friend ended up getting a lot of them and sending them to the tailor to get it to fit him.  Note - I'm 5'7'' and hes 5'5'' so the shirts and pants needed some alteration.

So after the spring cleaning - this is what my closet looks like:

I am satisfied with the results.  I actually used to have clothes on the top and bottom rows.   It's nice to free up the space underneath.  Especially since  I have some items that are best kept inside the closet: My Bags.

So here is the closet - again with the bags and a piece of luggage that used to just lie on one corner of my bedroom.  Now it can be kept inside the closet.  And yes - that's a mini shredder that I keep to shred all my ATM receipts and financial documents that I also clean up every three months.

I've done my spring cleaning.  Have you started with yours?

I Quit my Gym

I quit from my gym.  I was a member for over 10 years.  When I first joined - it was called "The Spa".  Apart from the monthly dues, they also ask for a membership fee.  It was a significant investment that made it a little bit more difficult to join - which in turn just emphasized that it's an exclusive Fitness Club.  Later on, the gym was bought by the international fitness club company "Fitness First".  It was then renamed to Fitness First plus.  The running joke among members is if that implies that all the other clubs should be called Fitness First minus.

I think the joke on Fitness First minus - prompted the company to rename Fitness First plus to Fitness First Platinum.  That sounded a lot better.

So after over 10 years of being a member of the gym.  I quit.  I can think of three reasons why I decided to quit.

1.  To start - the club was supposed to be an exclusive club.  Entry into the gym should be a bit difficult because of the up-front joining fee.  It seems like this has already been waived ever since it was owned by Fitness First.  So - every Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane, Mary, and Sue - can join the club.  

2.  Very few of my Fitness Friends have stayed at the gym.  A lot of them have moved on to yoga, moved to Canada, or abandoned fitness altogether.  Gyms are supposed to be fun because of the sense of community it provides.  Unfortunately - I don't find that communal spirit in the gym anymore.

3.  The last straw was a recent hike in the monthly fees - which automatically got charged to my credit card without prior notice.  Sure - they blamed the very slow postal system in the Philippines - but - I am at the gym at least three times a week - why can't the front desk personnel just announce it?   They charge our credit cards promptly --- so the announcement should be prompt.  Doing it otherwise - just goes to show that customers are not much of a priority for the company.

So in the month of April - I quit.  Apparently - they ask for a one month notice to quit.  I really don't understand that - but what the heck --- I can overlook that one month notice.  As long as I can be free from the burden of maintaining a gym membership in a gym that I no longer feel values me as much I think I should be valued as a customer.

Does this mean - I quit working out altogether?  No.  I have actually decided to utilize the gym in our Condo.  I also found a Fitness trainer who can come to my place.  (I would have wanted to just hire my former Personal Trainer from FF but I wouldn't want to get him in trouble.)   These are my reasons for this alternative:

1.  The money I will spend is less than half of what I used to spend on monthly membership dues plus Personal Training fees.

2.  The gym is within the building I live in.  So that's really convenient.  I can quickly hit the shower at my place after the work out.  So less excuses.

3.  The equipment is new - since the gym just got renovated.

With this change in my life - I am hoping that I can achieve two of my goals this year:

1.  Rationalize my expenses.

2.  Achieve my fitness goals.

You - my dear readers.  Have you done anything lately that has taken you closer to your goals this year?

Flowers, Trees, and Images

Today I share some photos that I have posted on my Flickr account.

Twisted Tree from Flickr

Crooked Tree from Flickr

Altar Flowers from Flickr

Good Friday at Salcedo Village

Easter break in Manila.  Thursday and Friday are both Holidays.  Since I live within the business district - the city practically turns into a ghost town on these days.  Of course - there are still those who work - especially those in Business Process Outsourcing companies who have to provide service 24x7.  But the neighborhood is very peaceful during these days.

Everyone else will be in supposed paradise Boracay or for those who can't afford it - Puerto Galera.  Of course the rich - will choose the exclusive resorts in El Nido or even Aman Pulo.

I chose to stay in the city.  It's not the first time that I did this.  I just love the city during these holidays. 

Empty Building (Rufino Tower)

Empty Crosswalks

Empty Cafe

Just me and my iPad (eBooks on Kindle) my iPod, my phone, my coffee - and Cheesecake

Empty Parks - more room for Midori to Run

Midori exploring the park

No other dogs but Midori

EVCO from Green Palette

I wrote about the Scalp Therapy oil that I buy from Green Palette in a previous post.  I continue to use the product and it continues to be effective in controlling flakes on my scalp.  Note that I also get flakes on my eye brows - so I also tried applying it on my eye brows.  As I did this, I noticed that it also helped in controlling pimples and other skin blemishes that I continue to have - even though I'm well beyond puberty.   So I started using the Scalp Therapy oil on my face.  I also tried using it on other parts of my body which continue to suffer from acne.  I was so surprised that it also controlled acne on my back, shoulders and neck.

This prompted me to visit the Green Palette store at the Salcedo Market last weekend.  This time - I asked for a product that can be used for my face and my body.  The owner - Marissa Siojo-Marfil - recommended that I use the Lime Massage Oil.  It still has Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - but it's a more appropriate product to use on your skin.

I've been using it for the past couple of days - and I actually think it is as effective as the Scalp Therapy oil.

BTW -- I'm not the only one who use products from Green Palette.  Midori and Char Siew use the Pet soap which is also made of EVCO and Madre de Cacao.  I also buy a pet balm that I rub on their coat which helps in keeping it shiny and control the occasional flakes that Midori has.

Midori's Visit to the Vet

Daddy takes us to the Vet at the slightest change in our behavior.  His reasoning: he can't understand dogspeak - so it's difficult for him to know whether we're sick or not.  He said that he thought I've been sleeping a lot lately and it seems like I am not my usual self.  So he brought me to the vet.  As usual - they tested my blood.  This is so normal for me already.  So I'm practically NR ( NO REACTION ).  Here's a video of that visit.

I would like to remind all of you how Char Siew reacted during our last visit.  Well - I guess we now know  that between the two of us - Char Siew takes after Daddy being the Drama Queen of the house.

Blogger's Note: This is a guest post from Midori the Beagle

Char SIew at Italianni's

I'm a Chinese Shar Pei - and I'm named after the Chinese Barbecued Pork Bun ( Char Siew Pao ).  However - my favorite food is Italian.  So I tag along with Dad when he goes to Italian restaurants.  Last weekend,  we were at Italianni's.

First thing first - I needed to hydrate.  It was a hot afternoon.  So it's always wise to bring along a water bottle.  It is also important to stay in the shade.

Daddy brought our water bottle. He also asked the waiter for cold water from the resto.
Daddy didn't make me eat all of the dishes.  He said that human food - especially processed meat is not good for us.  I of course am wondering how it can be bad for us - but he continues to eat it.  If it's bad for dogs --- shouldn't it be bad for humans too?   The most that I got to eat is the Foccacia which I prefer over Pan de Sal and Steamed Buns.  I also got to lick some of the Tartuffo sauce while dad was not looking.  As for dessert - I hear Chocolate and Walnut is toxic to dogs so I skipped dessert.

Foccacia.  Yummy

Fetuccini with Tartuffo Sauce and Prosciutto 

Panna Cota with Honey and Walnut

So that was what we had at Italianni's.  I don't care if I was not able to eat everything.  At least I was able to taste that heavenly sauce.  When we got back to our house - the ground beef dinner was waiting for me.  I wish they put truffle oil on that ground beef.  Anyways - never mind -- at the end of the day - I was one happy Shar Pei.

Happy Shar Pei
Blogger's Note: This is a guest post from Char Siew the Shar Pei

Busboys and Bokeh

Char Siew and I were at Bonifacio High st.  We were both tired.  It was a really hot afternoon - signaling the start of summer in Manila.  I decided to take a break - and give Char Siew a break as well.  We were there till the sun set.  When I was having my dessert - I started to play with my camera ( a Sony NEX 5 ).  I faced one part of the square - and just waited till I find something interesting.   These are the two photos that I took.  Too bad - I could not get them in focus.  LOL.  I know - one of them is actually meant to be Bokeh ( Japense for blurred ).  But I do wish the busboys photo was focused.

Bonifacio High Street Bokeh

Bonifacio High St. Busboys

Dressing up My iPad

Did you play with paper dolls when you were a kid?   I played with paper dolls.  I remember cutting those paper dresses and "dressing" up the cardboard cut outs of boys and girls.  Dressing them up as doctors, policemen, nurses, priests, nuns etc.  That was fun.

As an adult --- my toys have evolved into electronics.  What has not changed is the joy that dressing up these toys bring.  One of those toys is my iPad.

These are the different dresses, errrr cases, that my iPad sports.

1.  Original iPad Case

It's actually not that original.   It's a copy of the original case that Apple launched.  I like this case.  It's functional but it does lack a bit of pizzazz

2.  A lady in Red

This red case I got from Greenhils.  The bright color I love.  However - the iPad once slipped out of it which caused a dent on my iPad.

3.  High Tech Bluetooth Keyboard

This would have been the perfect case for my iPad.  It allows me to use a QWERTY keyboard that communicates with the keyboard via Bluetooth.  The problem with this case is it's weight.  It's too heavy in relation to the overall weight of the iPad.   This is why I leave it at home.

3.  Invisible Shield

This is a Jelly case that you can also see for other electronics.  It helps protect your iPad from scratches.  You don't even notice that it's there.  Of course - the downside of this case is the lack of stand.  

4.  Designer iPad

I bought the Jelly suit for the iPad because it was the only case that the iPad can "wear" and still fit into this designer iPad case from Marc by Marc Jacobs.   So I guess even in the iPad world - you have to be really thin to fit into designer clothing.