It’s 100 here…

Today, this happened…


Okay, I will allow you a few moments to get yourself collected.  I think it’s at that point where you have to peel yourself off the leather seat in your car if you have those.  Or even feeling the heat coming off the asphalt more than coming from the sun itself.  Yikes and it’s barely May!  Why, just couple weeks back, it was actually very nice and we were getting, I would say around 80’s.

I think that only means few times, swim suit season are unto us folks.  That also means trips to the ice cream shop!  I think the little one will appreciate the latter the most!  In fact, we’ve had one not too long ago.  I think she was excited about this outing and she chose her very own concoction.  If you must know, it was raspberry sorbet with rainbow sprinkles.


I imagine we may have few more of that this summer.  We normally do not go out for ice cream like this often, but I would say this was definitely worth it for that picture.

Wellness Assessment

So, my work had yet another year of wellness assessment. This marks my fifth year of doing the assessment. My first year working there, I missed it because I had a misunderstanding that employees would pay for this assessment. I had found out after they finished all sites that my employer had offered this for free. Whoops! From that point on, I participated. One year, I missed at my site but drove almost 15 miles one way just to be able to participate.

This year was a bit different, this marks the first year that the employer offered health incentive for participating and also volunteering to a cotinine test (but must pass). Upon completing one of the two or both incentives, the rebate would be applied as a credit towards our out of pocket health insurance cost. I was all for it seeing how I participate on an annual basis anyways. Not only that, our sites have recently gone tobacco free as of July 1, 2012. I don’t smoke either so it was a no brainer to do this test. If I don’t volunteer for it, then I don’t qualify for the rebate. Again, no brainer, I just wanted to do what I could for my family to cut down the health insurance cost where possible.

The cotinine test was quite interesting. After finishing my wellness assessment, they asked if I was planning on participating and said that I was. They directed me to this lady waiting for the next person to oversee the test. It was quite simple and painless. They instructed me to open a sealed bag and outlined the process for me. I did that. It looked sorta like a wand with a flat cotton-like tip only flat. I had never done such test before so I was pretty awkward and the lady helped me through the steps, explaining what I needed to do next. As soon as I placed it where the wand needed to go in my mouth, my mouth just about shriveled up in efforts to secrete more saliva. I think that was the whole point of it, to soak that cotton-like tip. I had to hold it for 5 minutes. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life… It was just sooo… salty! At the least I thought it was…


So, yea that’s me waiting for the time to do it’s thing. I believe I was only a minute in before I felt, “Dang, this is really taking a while.” Last time I talked about the wellness assessment, I was trying to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. It was this assessment that I discovered I did just that! Yayy me! I really stuck with it! I have minimized my pop consumption, ate more fresh fruit/veggies wherever possible, and increased water consumption. Not only I got down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I went even lower. I wasn’t planning on that! I didn’t have weight goals (other than getting myself back to pre-pregnancy weight) and weighed myself obsessively. I just ate what I wanted, made sure I did my hours at the gym as part of an employee fitness section. It’s a whole lot cheaper than paying gym membership!

I decided to opt out of the gym this semester since having been bitten on my right pinky finger as part of my massive update recently.  Even snapped a shot of what my pinky had looked like after my ER visit was all said and done.  It was for good reason, we had quite the insane semester and it’s not over!  I barely had time to step out of office.  Plus with Haley starting her new preschool, I had wanted to ensure she was transitioning well.  She really is doing well there and I am comfortable to start up my gym again.  Having that hour to myself daily has been awesome!  I saw the semester schedule of pilates class and it looked like they were offering pilates still, not one but TWO times a week!  Oh man!  I missed that change!  I sure hope they will have similar offerings like that for the fall semester.

Speaking of pilates, I took Haley to her audiologist visit just last week.  As I had pulled in, somehow I had glanced over at the buildings beyond the traffic waiting for it to clear so I could make the turn.  Within those buildings, I had seen this recognizable logo of a white circle with a letter “P” on it, which was red.  No way!  Could it be?!  I needed to get Haley to the appointment, so I turned once the traffic was clear.  Did the appointment, which seems like eternity.  I explained to Haley we would make a quick detour as mama wanted to check something out.  I head over to the buildings I had spotted this logo.  Could it be?  Oh please?  Really?  It really is!!  What was it that I saw?  Pure Barre studio!  Oh joy!  I heard so many great things about it.  I parked and go in to get the class schedule.  I had the chance to talk with the co-owners, Veronica, who was really nice.  It turns out they had their grand opening just earlier that morning!

After talking with Veronica, we both agree that should I decide to pick up few classes there, I should do just fine in there as I have quite a bit of pilates background.  I really enjoy doing low-impact exercises.  I can’t quite run, not at the least comfortably.  If you know me, you’ll know what I mean.


Do you think it’s possible that Christmas will come early in July.  Oh how I would LOVE to have some classes there.  I’m happy with once or twice a week!  I’ve been going once a week for the last almost two years until I got bit leading to some challenges in being able to hold the poses.  The pressure on my right hand felt really bad only because it basically left me a hole.  Now it’s mostly filled/grown in where the bite was plus the nail growing almost all the way back (I lost almost the entire thing), it’s more comfortable again.  Wish list mental note, add pure barre to my Christmas/birthday/mother’s day/any holidays you can think of and I will be a happy lady!  Oh and of course, they have dress code requirement, which I totally get.  So throw that in, and I’m happy.

Bottom line, the wellness assessment is a great tool to keep a progress check on yourself.  It wasn’t until my second assessment that I decided to try and get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I had not gone to the gym yet or started pilates yet.  The assessment after that was really good.  No problem.  Oh no, it was fourth assessment that had me start going to the gym.  I had shown that my weight was going up, not down.  I did what I could with my eating habit (notice I did not say “diet”, I do not believe in “diet”).  I will be glad I started this assessment when I did now that my employer is offering incentives to apply towards our fiscal year health insurance out of pocket costs.  That means more money in my paycheck.  Perhaps that could translate in some pure barre?  We shall see as we have few other things that my family need to take care of first to ensure financial health.

Etsy Shop: Studio Risa

I’ve been at work for the last few months starting a new adventure.  I have decided few months ago to sell my creations I make on Etsy!  I am very excited for this new adventure.  Find me at my shop, Studio Risa.

Come check out my shop! Share with your friends!

You Know…

You know you are a mom when you have to ask the cashier to please remove an unwanted item from the receipt during self check-out lane because your toddler decides to ring up an item behind your back as you put what you rang up in the bag…

Said item was a second candy bar…  Naughty girl!  She already had her one choice of treat, not about to give her a second one…

Photo Summary

Football game

Haley having chocolate chip scones

Bundled up in a pile of blankets

Potty training

Brewing tea

Lemon scones with glaze

Being silly

Late night trip to ER

Quality time with daddy

Going cold turkey with binky

Important discussion happening…

Trip to pumpkin patch

After pumpkin patch

Spooky coffee

Halloween goodies to pass out for trick or treaters

All dressed up!

Haley’s goodies

“Hearty” chili

Potato soup

Bowl of chocolate batter scraped off…

Haley’s hair fad?

Birthday cake for Haley!

Fun trip to the vet

I’m still around!

I’m still here!  I didn’t fall off the blogging-sphere, if that’s a word.  Since my last post, there’s been a number of things that happened here.  Like what?  Well, for starters, potty training is full on force in this house.  We have one stubborn little girl, people!  It is sort of a one step forward and two steps back type of progress here.  We’ve tried just about everything!  We have our good days and our…  better days.  Sure, there are frustrating moments here and there.  I KNOW she is sorta trained at her schools.

“Schools”?  Yep!  She started at a half day preschool once she turned 3 years old.  For the past few months, we were hard at work with our IEP team to ensure a smooth transition into school environment.  This school is a total immersion of ASL as her source of learning which is great!  Unfortunately, it is only half days.  I still cannot believe she turned 3 years old only last month.  Not just that, 2012 seemed to go by in a flash!  We celebrated her birthday with a tamale making party.  I have had some of these party fall on my birthday as well and it is quite fun!

Somewhere since my last post and this one, life also happened as I am a busy working mama!  Well, we had some incident at our house that involved a certain dog that shall not be named (Cosmo), and my right pinky finger.  Simply put, it was discipline gone bad that I err…  lost majority of my nail (nearly fully regrown).  I struggled for a while with using computer at work that using my laptop at home was just out of the question while I healed.  Typing was such a chore that for about 2 months, my right ring finger did both typing for its own plus the keys for the pinky finger.  Rest assured, lots of pictures were taken during that time though I doubt I will include the aftermath of the incident that involved a trip to the ER.  Hubbs did great with Haley in the waiting room while I was being seen.

Halloween was a blast!  Haley dressed up as the Wicked Witch who kidnapped Toto.  I dressed up as Wenda.  Hubbs, dressed up, according to him, as the rugged man.  Hmm okay.  Haha!  If you must know, he WAS supposed to dress up as Waldo.  Haley scored quite the stash as we trick or treated in my parent’s neighborhood.  Thanks Mom and Dad for letting us take over your house!  WE found few houses that could probably be considered THE house to go to when trick or treating.  They were doling out full sized candy bar.  FULL!  Wow!  Among the stash was a full sized Twix that I had my eyes on.  Shamelessly, I took it and had some for myself.  In my defense, Haley had her share of variety goodies in her bag.  When we were done, we headed home to help Nana hand out treats.

I promised her I would write about this.  We had fun passing out candies and seeing all sorts of kids and their costume.  We must had been outside for couple hours, maybe more.  Our candies to pass out would get lower and lower each time we gave them out.  Then finally, just enough for one kid.  Two or three pieces.  The last few kids were just single group so we figured maybe next kid will be just solo with his or her parents.  Well, we were wrong!  Next group that came along was a group, that’s for sure.  THREE kids came.  Oops.  We announced we only had enough for one and since they came in groups and assuming they were siblings, I had intended to give it to the youngest.  To our suprise, these kids said that was okay AND gave us THEIR candies to give to other kids that came along.  Uhh what?  WOW!  I…  just…  wow!  My mom, Hubbs, and I were sitting outside seeing all this and flabbergasted at this act.

Thanksgiving came along.  Let’s put it this way, I simply ate way too much.  We had lots of fun.  Surrounded by family and friends, food of course.  Hubbs brought along his home brew and it was oh so good!   There were some football game being played in the background.  The pies, oh the pies!  Why do we find room for dessert even on a full stomach?  Do we have a second stomach that we do not know about?  I seem to always “make room” for dessert.  The weather was perfect that we ate outside in the back patio.

Along came Christmas.  Oh phew!  That was quite the fun!  My mom suggested that we spend the night there after we do our annual Christmas Eve dinner with Hubbs family.  So we did that and did human tetris with our Jeep and the dogs, their crate, gifts, overnight bag, etc.  Good times!  Haha!  After dinner, we headed over to spend the night at our parents, my mom had a special plate pulled out for Haley to set out for Santa.  This was the same plate that I used growing up doing the same thing.  We set out few cookies for Santa and had her make a wish list.  Well, more like drew it, I suppose.  Set it with the cookies.  Christmas morning, oh boy, that was priceless!  Haley usually gets up early anyways.  So we went to wake Nana and Tata up.  Haley saw the cookies were eaten and asked us if we ate them.  We said no and she was in total shock.  We had quite the lazy morning and opening the gifts.  Haley was the official gift-opener for gifts that weren’t for her.  She just likes ripping the wrapping off.  Haha.  Christmas afternoon we headed to Hubb’s parent’s house.  More gifts openings there!  Then we ate dinner with them as well.  We had brunch with my parents and dinner with them.

New Year’s eve was low key.  Usually is for us and we watched the ball drop on the TV and went to bed after that.  Surprisingly Haley stayed up.  I heard that she actually beat Nana in staying awake.  Of course, Haley is up like the early bird next morning (or technically, that same day).  She has been on weird nap schedule or the lack of naps lately.  It would appear that she is moving towards to days with no naps.  I have no concept of that, naps are normal for me so it’s pretty scary to think about days with no naps.  I do stuff during her naps!  Like kitchen, laundry, and stuff!  Shall be interesting to see how it goes at one of her school since they do nap times there.

That would sum up our last few months.  Watch for photos to come soon!  Thank you for staying through to the end of this post of events.

More Tea News

Well, more tea stuff continues…

I came home from work and found that a package was on the table and Hubbs was excited to open it.  Turns out he ordered more of the same bag of tea I made for him.  Harney and Sons Earl Grey Supreme, to be more specific.  Now that would make sense of all questions he was asking me if pre-made tea bags or loose leaves was best.  Most of my stuff are loose leaves, since one would have more control of the strength as well as blending with other flavors if desired.  He bought the pre-made tea bag only it contained loose leaves.


I didn’t actually see the website but saw that they had several tins that looked pretty cool way to display on top of the kitchen cabinet when done with them.  My mom has bunch of those displays at her house and I’ve always loved ‘em.  I’m pretty sure they’re a lot older than I am but that’s part of the charm about it.

Now I will have an excuse to get more tea stuff knowing he likes tea.  My next task?  Find a good scone recipe (or two) to go along with a good cup of tea!  Onward with the search…

Tea Surprise

My parents had gone to Boston for their vacation during the last week of August.  They went to tons of places and some involved visiting Cape Cod, Salem Witch Hunt, different breweries, and many other places I’ve forgotten by now.  Hubbs had gone to Boston before and he suggested few places too.  I hope one day to visit there as well.  I had asked for tea and chocolate from my parents.  I don’t know if Hubbs had any request.  When they brought back was pretty cool.  Haley has several shirts of the universities out there.  My parents mentioned the felt like professors walking close to the university.  I believe that brings her university shirts count to 3 or 4 shirts now.

Then there was Hubbs, he received some shirts as well on top of a pretty cool beer mug.  I might show my age a bit here but my parents had visited Cheers bar.  How cool is that?  Some pictures were shared and some funny comments exchanged.  Things like if my mom had applied for Diane’s job or what a big deal it was to sit in Norm’s chair.  My parents brought back the short mug that Norm usually would drink, that short and dimpled mug.  Anytime it’s spotted in an opened and clean set of dishes, Hubbs would swoop in and proceed to fill it with a cold beer.  That was the souvenir brought back for him and he has definitely put it to use.  I declare that we must go to Cheers in Boston to get him more of those mugs.  I think he had no argument about that.

Then there was me, I received a bag full of tea goodies.  Mostly whenever my parents went, they would pick up various tea bags here and there.  I got all different kinds:  English breakfast, roobios, Earl Grey, cinnamon spice, herbal, etc.  Coming to my title of this post, “tea surprise”, Hubbs recognized a specific brand out of all the tea bags that I sorted through and he got really excited and begged me to make him a cup of this specific Earl Grey tea.  Say what now?  Making tea for Hubbs?  I’ve been buying and drinking all sorts of tea (Earl Grey included) and he’s never asked me to do so.  Hmm, okay, so I asked what was up.  He explained that he grew up drinking that brand of tea and it was his favorite.  Ever since, he’s asked me to make him a cup of tea, usually just before bedtime.

New Workout Gear

So!  It sure has been a crazy few weeks which contributed for being MIA lately.  Sometimes over the summer, I managed to pick up new capris and t shirt for my new workout gear.  I am staring my third semester of employee section class at work.  I decided not to continue that through the summer otherwise it would be my fourth semester.  Naturally, I was worried my body would become lackadaisical but surprisingly not since I remained active over the summer in another form.  My summer consisted of a compressed work week which in turn made my Fridays being my off day.  I am slightly sore but nowhere near the level of soreness I experienced my first semester.  Holy cow!  Walking or even stretching was a major chore!  I look forward in seeking out additional items for my workout gear.  Sadly, my pilates mat doesn’t seem to be used much anymore.  It’s lost the stickiness since I keep slipping and sliding during class.  Silly, I tell you.  For now, I’m using the general mat provided by the group fitness.  I make sure I pre-wipe the heck out of the mat, like crazy.  I much rather have my own.  I like it sticky, long, and even a bit thicker but most I’ve seen is pretty thin.  Boo.  The search continues.


So naturally, new clothes made me feel good!  Surprisingly comfy!  My main concern was would the outfit be as comfy as I work out?  It did!  First day back, which was yesterday, consisted of the following, some running on the treadmill, leg press, bench press, and some mat work with the medicine ball.  The mat work consisted with bent leg roll ups, traditional roll ups, some Russian twists, and a bit of stretching.  I was impressed with the gym at work since it went through a bit of remodeling in terms of floor materials and rearranging the equipment to flow a bit better as one moves around the gym.  Tomorrow, pilates!  It will be two hours earlier than my usual time but dang it, I’m committed to go!

Not only that, I have also signed up for a third round of Mile Club Challenge.  I started out with 100 miles since I had no idea what is involved and second time around, I doubled that.  Now this time around, I now signed up for 300 miles in 100 days.  It’s not yet started but soon will!  For example, I would have earned close to 3 miles for riding the stationary bike today in 50 minutes (woot woot!).  The program credits 1 mile for every 3 miles cycled.  I would have met my daily goal.  Not to mention, you can include the steps you have done that day.  It varies from day to day but for something like today, I would have totaled 1 mile.  If it was last week, I sure spent a lot of time outside the office so I am sure it’s probably twice that!

With summer winding down into fall even though we are still experiencing summer temperatures, I’ve been downing water like crazy.  Shall we demonstrate?


A bonus would be a glimpse of Haley’s lovey, Sophie on the bottom left of the picture.  No, in all seriousness, I didn’t drink all those bottles myself.  We have a water delivery and normally get 5-7 bottles, depending what we need that month on top of Hubbs’ hobby of brewing.  We had missed a delivery so whoops!  That meant we were holding those empty bottle for a bit longer than usual.  Haley do love helping us stack them outside, ready for the deliver/exchange day.  She has been such a little helper these days.

In other news, I have been toying with the idea of signing up for Warrior Dash after my two dear friends have completed their courses earlier this year.  My supervisor and/or co-workers would be involved in marathons, triathlons, or even events including Tough Mudder.  A might too extreme for me, until my friends told us about Warrior Dash.


It’s more on the fun side and the course itself is 3-miles ridden with obstacles course (Tough Mudder is so much tougher and longer than that).  So far, I haven’t taken the plunge, but the thought is there.  Go ahead, Google up Warrior Dash and check out the images.  Doesn’t that look like fun?  Right now, no local races but out of state.  Road Trip?  Yes?  Hmm, still contemplating…

Amy Butler Everything Wristlet

Whew, this was my latest project and I had learned two new things.  One was working with a magnetic snap and the other was working with a pretty stiff fusible interfacing.  I had everything lined out and ready to go.  That included the correction that I found while searching for pictures of the inside to give myself an idea what it looks like.


The magnetic snap was so easy, I don’t know why I thought it would be difficult installation.  I searched for a video to show how it was done.  It was easy peasy!  The dot was marked for where the magnetic would be made and since the direction was printed “below”, I made sure the top of the circle was just under that dot.


The fusible interfacing probably surprised me the most.  I’ve never seen it so upright and was worried it would break my machine!  It didn’t, which was a relief.  Yes, I tested it on a scrap before I went with it.  Towards the end of the project, I hand-cranked the wheel rather than let the machine stitch as I pedaled along.  You can’t really see it in the picture below but it’s not really flat, it was sort of bowled up once I sewed the side stitching as it called for to create the gusset later on.


Then this was where I started stumbling with the steps once I hit the zipper.  Once I realized it was going to be awkward stitching trying to attach the bottom part of the zipper without stitching through the pocket itself.  It could be done, but would be left with an unusable pocket and a functioning zipper.  In fact, after some search, I came across a post talking about the very same issue I was having.  There is also a part one and part three post as well.

I had thought of a possible solution and decided to sleep on it and next morning I couldn’t think of any other way and gave it a shot.  With the zipper now having been ripped out.  I should name my seam ripper, it’s come in handy so many times!  Instead of following that step the way it was printed, I basically did the step backwards in certain parts.  Sewed the bottom part of the zipper on with the top being last.  I got my pocket!



I hand sewn the lining and outside fabric together to finish it off and it worked just beautifully.  No matter how I attempt to set myself up, it wouldn’t allow me to stitch it together.  I didn’t want to bend the interfacing and causing a crease.  That was what led to my decision to hand stitching it closed.  Plus having it pined in place helped as I got closer to finishing it.  It didn’t take very long!


Now I have a pretty clutch!  It would be great for date night and carrying only the essentials.  I told Hubbs that we should have a date night soon just so I could use it.  No, that’s not really the reason to have a date night.  We’ve not had one in a while so it does call for one to be done soon.  In Amy’s book, she also suggested a brooch or a stylish pin to be added to the front flap to give it a bit more oomph.