• Random

    A Day in Graham, NC: Triple Celebration

    Last week, Thea invited my sister and her family to a special occasion—the birthday celebration of her two children and the housewarming of their new home in Graham. Mom and I tagged along. We were the first to arrive at the party. While waiting for the other guests, Thalia and Uriah immediately started playing tag. It was so much fun to watch them! They seemed to be enjoying themselves so much, running around with pure joy. We were also pleasantly surprised to see that they had rented inflatables, ensuring that the kids (and the kids at heart) wouldn’t get bored!

    As more guests arrived, the party officially started. The food was laid out on the table, and we served ourselves. Thea and her family had cooked all the delicious dishes. There were so many tasty options, clearly prepared with a lot of love and effort. After eating, we all sang happy birthday to the celebrants. The kids were so happy, surrounded by friends and family, everyone cheerfully singing along.

    Their place in Graham is beautiful—quiet, far from the crowds, and with such a refreshing ambiance. It felt like a place you’d want to stay forever! As the celebration continued, we noticed other guests slowly leaving, but we stayed until the very end. That day was truly worth it. The house was filled with laughter, stories, and joyful memories. It wasn’t just a party; it was a celebration of life, friendship, and new beginnings. Thank you, Thea, for inviting us. Until next time!

  • Life Lately

    A Day Out: Errands and Pullen Park, Raleigh, NC

    Yesterday turned into a surprisingly delightful day, starting with a simple errand and ending with memorable adventures. My brother-in-law needed to get his guitar serviced, so we headed to Guitar Center. While he went inside to take care of his guitar, we waited in the car, planning the rest of our day. Our stomachs led us to our next destination: the Oriental Store in Raleigh.

    Walking into the Oriental store felt like stepping back into the Philippines. The aisles were packed with familiar Filipino goods, bringing a wave of nostalgia. From snacks to condiments, it was like a mini homecoming. Although the prices were significantly higher than what we were used to back home, the craving for those familiar flavors made it worth it. We decided to have lunch there and ordered some of our favorite dishes: longganisa, Bicol Express, laing, and BBQ. The food was fantastic! The portions were generous, and every bite was a comforting taste of home. The longganisa was perfectly spiced, the Bicol Express had just the right amount of heat, the laing was creamy and delicious, and the BBQ was tender and flavorful. It was honestly one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time.

    Despite not feeling our best, we didn’t want to waste the day, so we decided to make the most of it and headed to Pullen Park. Even though it was extremely hot, we pushed through with the idea of having fun at the park. The place was bustling with people, all soaking under the sun and playing with their families.

    My nephew was over the moon with excitement. He got to ride the paddle boat, the train, and the carousel. We also joined him on the train ride, which was a lot of fun and gave us a great view of the park. The sun was blazing, but it didn’t deter anyone from enjoying the day. Everywhere we looked, families were having picnics, kids were running around, and the atmosphere was filled with laughter and joy.

    His laughter and joy were infectious, lifting our spirits and making us forget we weren’t feeling well. Watching him have so much fun was the highlight of our day. We ended up enjoying every moment, from the rides to just being outdoors together. The day was a perfect blend of cherished memories and simple joys, proving that sometimes, a bit of home and family fun can turn an ordinary day into something extraordinary.

  • Life Lately

    A Tuesday in Cary, NC

    Yesterday was one of those wonderful, unplanned days that end up being unforgettable. We decided to take a spontaneous trip to Downtown Cary Park, just a 20-minute drive from home. Honestly, I didn’t know exactly where we were heading, only that it was somewhere in Cary. As we drove into downtown, I couldn’t help but notice how much it reminded me of Wilmington with its charming streets and friendly atmosphere.

    We found a spot in the public parking area and headed straight to the park. It was absolutely beautiful – the kind of place that immediately puts you at ease. After a bit of exploring, we started to feel hungry. We stumbled upon a little stand and treated ourselves to some rose ice cream and coffee. The flavors were as delightful as they sound, and they gave us the perfect boost to continue our adventure.

    As we walked around the park, we discovered a lovely botanical garden. It was the perfect spot to rest for a while. My brother-in-law took a nap on a bench while my nephew and I roamed around, marveling at the beautiful plants and flowers.

    Around 5 PM, I asked my nephew if he wanted to check out the playground. He enthusiastically agreed, so we left his parents and my mom in the botanical garden and made our way to the playground. We had an absolute blast climbing, hurdling, and even taking turns on the slide. It felt great to let loose and have fun together.

    After a while, we heard my nephew’s dad calling his name – it was time to go. We reluctantly left the playground and regrouped with the family. Our day wasn’t over yet, though. We headed to a nearby Korean restaurant for dinner. The samgyupsal and hotpot were delicious and the perfect way to end our spontaneous outing.

    All in all, it was a fantastic day filled with laughter, relaxation, and quality family time. Sometimes, the best days are the ones you don’t plan at all.

  • Travels

    A Day in Wilmington, NC

    Today, our family took a trip to Wilmington, NC to celebrate Dad’s birthday. Even though he’s no longer with us, his memory remains strong in our hearts, especially on days like today when we’re all together.

    Before heading out, my sister and I cleaned the car. We wanted everything to be perfect for our journey. The drive was fun, filled with stories and laughter.

    We had a pit stop along the way, and I was amazed by the sight of so many vending machines—it was my first time seeing so many in one place. Excited, I bought snacks and drinks for the family. I even tried a Starbucks Caramel drink, but I couldn’t help comparing the cost to back home in the Philippines—it’s definitely cheaper there!

    We arrived in Wilmington just in time for lunch and decided to explore the Riverwalk. We took plenty of photos to capture the moment, making sure to document our time together. The scenic views were beautiful, and it was a pleasant walk until we reached The Pilot House, a restaurant by the river. The atmosphere was inviting, and the view was perfect for a family lunch. I ordered Shrimp and Scallop Scampi, because I can never resist the combination of seafood and pasta. The dish was delicious, and I savored every bite.

    After our delightful meal, we headed to see the USS North Carolina Battleship. Although we decided not to buy tickets to tour the inside due to the cost for a group of five, we enjoyed viewing the impressive ship from the outside. The size and history of the battleship were fascinating. I picked up several souvenirs, including fridge magnets, keychains, and a shot glass, thinking of my workmates and how they’d appreciate them.

    Our next stop was Airlie Gardens, known for its stunning landscapes and serene atmosphere. Unfortunately, we arrived just a minute before closing time. If only my sister had gone to the visitor check-in first, we might have made it in time. It was a bit disappointing, but we didn’t let it ruin our day. We made the best of it by enjoying the beautiful scenery from outside the gardens.

    Despite this small hiccup, the day was filled with joy, and cherished memories. We felt Dad’s presence with us, guiding and reminding us of the love we share as a family. As we drove back home, we all started feeling sleepy. My sister, mom and nephew took a nap while my brother-in-law drove us. He was talking to his sibling, keeping himself awake and entertained during the drive.

    This trip was a beautiful reminder that even though Dad is no longer with us, his spirit and the memories we created together will always be a part of us. Today, we celebrated his life in a meaningful and joyous way, creating new memories that we will cherish for years to come.

  • Life Lately

    A Day in Durham, NC

    Hey! I’m so excited to share our recent trip to Sarah P. Duke Gardens with you all. It was one of those perfect spring days where the sun was shining, and the air was filled with anticipation. The warmth of the sun and the clear blue sky set the perfect backdrop for our adventure.

    We had our hearts set on seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom. While they were playing a bit of peek-a-boo with us in the gardens, we were thrilled to discover a stunning display of cherry blossoms on the Duke University campus! The sight of the delicate pink petals against the blue sky was absolutely enchanting.

    Everywhere we looked, there were bursts of color and the sweet fragrance of flowers in the air. We couldn’t help but pause every few steps to take it all in.

    One of the highlights of our day was visiting the Duke University Chapel. Its intricate architecture left us in awe. We spent some time exploring the grounds, taking photos, and simply soaking in the peaceful atmosphere.

    But you know what the best part was? It wasn’t about the cherry blossoms or the grandeur of the chapel. It was about being together as a family, sharing laughter and creating memories that we’ll cherish forever.

    Our stroll around the campus and gardens wasn’t even planned, but sometimes the best adventures are spontaneous. As we strolled hand in hand, we couldn’t help but feel grateful for moments like these. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that bring us the most joy – like spending a beautiful day surrounded by loved ones in a place as Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

    After our unplanned stroll, we headed to Red Crab Juicy Seafood for dinner. I had been eagerly anticipating some large sea crabs, and my cravings for seafood were finally satisfied – from succulent shrimp to juicy crab legs, all seasoned to perfection.! The delicious meal was the perfect way to end our day.

    Sure, we may not have found what we were originally looking for in the gardens, but what we discovered was so much better: the beauty of nature, the warmth of family, and the joy of being present in the moment.

    I am already looking forward to more unplanned trips like this one, where the unexpected becomes the highlight of our day.

    Sending you all lots of love and sunshine from our springtime adventure at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Duke University campus, and our delightful dinner at Red Crab Juicy Seafood!