Sugar Oct 2007-Nov 2009

Sugar was doing very poorly the week before I left for the Philippines. She got progressively worse the night before I was to leave. She had 2 large mammary tumors and was losing a lot of weight and getting very frail.... my poor girl. I spent as much time as I could my last night home with her. When I woke up around 1am though Sugar couldn't move and was taking shallow breaths... I think she had had a stroke. I had to leave for the airport around 3am, so my brothers kept an eye on her while my parents took me to the airport for my flight. Around 5am I got a call from my brother at the airport, that Sugar had passed away.... she was around 2 years 1 month old. She lived a long life for a rattie. Sugar was my first rattie. When I went to Petco over two years ago she was the one standing up against the glass looking at me. I adopted her and her sister Spice back in October 2007. Sugar lived about a year longer than Spice. I will miss you so much my girl.... goodbye Sugar... 10-23-2007 - 11-24-2009


1st week in the Philippines

I left on Tuesday for the Philippines. My first flight was from Philadelphia to Chicago. Then Chicago to Tokyo Japan. When I finally arrived in Japan after my 13 hour flight I found out my cell phone wasn't working. I almos had a panic attack because I had no way of contacting F.B. to let him know I had arrived safely in Japan. I tried going to the money changer but I couldn't understand how to fill the form out and the Japan payphones were really odd looking too and you need Yen for them. I didn't know how I was going to let F.B. know when I was in the Philippines so he would know to come and pick me up in the waiting area. The flight from Japan to the Philippines was about 4 hours right before we were going to land I realized on the control for the LCD movie screen there was a phone on the other side you could use with your credit card so I called F.B. from the plane. At first he couldn't hear me so I had to call back and then he was like, "You're at the airport?" "No, I'm ON the plane! We're going to be landing my cell phone isn't working!" After all that once I did land in the Philippines, my cell phone did work. F.B.'s dad said Japan is on a different network and that's my phone didn't work.

We got back to F.B.'s house around 11:30pm on Wednesday. He had a red rose for me and some ratties waiting... hahaha! There was also a sign in the dining room Ate Malou made.

The next day was Thanksgiving so we headed to Mall of Asia for my "Thanksgiving" in the Philippines. We also watched 'A Christmas Carol' with Jim Carrey in 3D at the IMAX theater. We also had to pick up a new voltage box because my laptop wasn't working with the one F.B. got after the flood. We had dinner at Gerry's Grill like we did on my "Thanksgiving" last year in the Philippines. We had Gerry's grilled squid & veggie rice. We also tried a tofu & pork appetizer but it wasn't so great.

Friday we got up early to go to the US Embassy in Manila to get my 'Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage' We left the house around 6am and arrived around 7am. On the way to the building F.B. forgot he had his cell phone in his pocket.(No electronics are allowed inside the embassy.) As we were walking back to the car F.B. heard this guy say "Sarah Lynn". We were a little freaked out at first until the guy introduced himself. A few weeks ago I recieved an email from a blog reader who works for Department of Homeland Security at the US Embassy. He wanted to let me know that the embassy would be closed on December 1st and that November 27th would be a half day since those were the days we were considering going to the embassy. He had been at the Starbucks and was walking back to the embassy when he said he recognized us from my blog pictures, lol! I'm world famous now, haha!

I emailed him later in the day to thank him after we ran into him and he replied:

Hello Sarah-Lynn and FB, I am glad all is set now for the big day. It was nice, definitely a coincidence, running into you both this morning. Although I think I may have scared you guys a bit when I approached you and FB on the street with my Starbucks cup. You probably thought I was panhandling!

We really weren't at the embassy too long. I had to fill out my paper, go to another window to pay for it, then the longest part was waiting for them to do a background check. After that our name was called and we were interviewed briefly before I signed my paper and it was notarized. We were out of there around 9:30am. Then we headed back to Mall of Asia for lunch at Chow King and then back to F.B.'s house. Wednesday we have an appointment at the Cainta Municipal Hall to apply for our marriage licence. Saturday we just spent the day hanging out at his house watching movies and relaxing after the past 2 busy days.

Today we are at Robinson's Galleria. I'm at an internet cafe right now. We are going to see 2012. Afterwards we will be having dinner at Tokyo Tokyo.

I will leave you with some silly photos we took today!

And this is "Mugwort" he is another stray cat that likes to visit F.B.'s house. He survived the flood too. F.B. was trying to carry him out of the garage when the water was up to their necks but he jumped off his shoulders and swam away! F.B. named him "Mugwort" because if you look up the Tansy flower on wikipedia (My cat's name.) Mugwort is another name for Tansy. He's like the male Tansy, lol

NOTE: If you are getting married in the Philippines and you are a US citizen these requirements from the US Embassy in Manila Philippines, will be helpful: Getting Married in The Philippines.


Another Award!

Patty from 'Discovering Me' awarded several of her favorite blogs with the 'Your Blog Is Fabulous' award! Thanks so much, I love reading your blog! I wanted to pass along the award to some of my favorite blogs that I follow!
1. Classy in Philadelphia

2. FashioniZSta/passioniZSta

3. Lucky In Love and Life

4. Misguided Mommy

5. Rattie Corner

6. Keeping Up With D & J

7. Smiles & Trials

8. Living (the best of) Life in my Dreams

9. Coffee and Blunder

10. Feminine Farmgirl

This past week has been pretty busy for me! Thursday night I got together with my cousins Christina & Jessica. We watched Chrissy's wedding on DVD. We went out to The Olive Garden for dinner. I had the Parmesan Crusted Tilapia which came with veggies & a light pasta. It was the first time I've tried Tilapia. It was really yummy! Salmon is still my favorite though! I also had a glass of White Zinfandel, my favorite wine.

Friday it was my "Christmas/Thanksgiving" with my family, since I'll be away for the holidays this year. I took my parents & 3 brothers out to the Chinese Buffet for lunch. Later we exchanged gifts. I got my Dad Baconnaise! Haha! I also got him some of the flavored salts. And as a joke gift from the same place, I got my brothers Bacon Lip Balm. Yes you read correct! I got the new Kutless worship album 'It Is Well' among other gifts. My Mom also gave me a garter & a bracelet of hers with little blue hearts to wear at my wedding.

Sunday I have to go out and stock up on pet food & pet supplies before I leave. Also stopping to see my Nana around 7pm. Monday is going to be so crazy. I'm going to have to get to sleep by 5-6pm, because I'm getting up around 2am and I'll have to be at the airport by 3am... yuck! It's a few days before Thanksgiving too, so I'm sure there will be holiday traffic.

My flight from Philadelphia leaves around 6am. (My trip itinerary). I'll arrive in the Philippines November 25 around 10:30pm. I'll be stopping in Chicago from Philadelphia and then Chicago to Tokyo, Japan. (I've never been to that airport, so I'm a bit nervous!) From Tokyo, I'll be flying to the Philippines. All in all about 24 hours worth of traveling... my longest flight will be about 13 hours long- from Chicago to Tokyo.

I'm taking my laptop and I will be blogging from the Philippines like I did last time. To read adventures from my past 3 trips to the Philippines you can click below. (It starts with the most recent & works it's way back.) I'll be labeling all of this coming trip under the same category as well!

From The Philippines


My Wedding Accessories

Well, I'm leaving for the Philippines next Tuesday. And then it's just a little over a month until our wedding on December 19th!

I thought I would share what I'm wearing and my wedding accessories with everyone. If you've read this entry "You're Not Having A Wedding?" I showed off some of my wedding accessories and talked about the ceremony itself, etc. We are having a civil ceremony on December 19th, so we will be married by a judge at the Manila Hotel. Later in the evening we will have our wedding dinner. We just wanted a very simple wedding ceremony. I've never wanted a large wedding or wanted to wear the traditional wedding gown, etc. That's not me and that's not really F.B. either. So that's why we are having the small civil ceremony.

F.B. will be wearing the traditional Philippine Barong. I'm just going to wear a simple black skirt and a purple lace tank top. It's what I feel comfortable in. I hate wearing dresses. Actually I have pictures of me wearing the same outfit from my cousin Heather's wedding. So I will be wearing this outfit at my wedding:

Honestly, I only own TWO skirts, lol. I am not a dressy skirt wearing kind of girl at all! I'm the t-shirt and jeans girl, so F.B. is lucky I'm wearing a skirt for our wedding! I love my skirt though, it's got two layers, the top is sheer and swirly and I love it. It stops right below my knees.

My wedding jewelry will be Philippine freshwater pearl bracelet & earrings. And my gorgeous Swarovski pearl drop necklace from KYM Jewelry

I can't wear heels around F.B. hehe. He's 5'3" and I'm 5'6". Normally when we stand side by side there's not much of a difference but if I put on some 2 inch heels there will be, since I'm already 3 inches taller, haha! So I will be wearing a pair of silver dressy sandals for my wedding. I'm going to wear a light pink nail polish.

Here we are side by side at Baguio Philippines, awful pic, haha!

Also in case it gets cold in the hotel with the aircon, (air conditioner is called an aircon in the Phil!) I ordered a purple Pashmina shawl. I didn't know they were made of goat fur! Ack! I like goats too! Haha! It's soooo soft though!

I also got a dressy silver beaded evening bag for the wedding:

And last but not least, our wedding rings! F.B.'s is on the left & mine is on the right! They are Titanium.

I will be changing my name too. F.B. said to me once, "When we get married you'll be Sarah Lynn Clydesdale-Bernardo." And I said. "No way! I'm dropping Clydesdale!" Seriously Clydesdale may be unique, but hyphanating it would just be too long.


Packing, Books & Music!

I am officially all packed! Honestly, I kept putting it off because I hate packing, but everything is now packed except for last minute items. I even managed to fit everything into one suitcase and I still have a little extra room. I didn't even use the zipper extender. Yay! I love my new suitcase because besides being light weight, the wheels turn 360 degrees, it's awesome!

I stopped at Marshall's & Kohl's on Monday and picked up 2 new pairs of jeans. I also got a few more last minute items, flashlight, travel sewing kit, etc. And snacks for the plane! 2 Rice Krispie Treat Bars (Walmart had individual ones that are a bit bigger than the boxed treats.) and a bag of Snyders Peanut Butter Pretzels, yum!

Thursday evening I'll be going out with my cousins, Chrissy & Jessica. It's kind of sad, because my cousin Chrissy who was just married on November 7th is going to be moving to Georgia with her husband to one of the military bases down there. She'll be moving in early January and I won't be back in the USA until the end of January, so it's the last time we will see each other for awhile. I will have to either take a road trip or fly down to see her later next year. I have a lot of cousins, but I've always been close with Chrissy & Jessica.

Friday is my "Thanksgiving/Christmas" at home. I'm taking the family to a Chinese Buffet for lunch. Later we'll exchange gifts at home for my "Christmas" before I go away. And Sunday I think I will be stopping to see my Nana before I leave. My flight to Chicago leaves from Philadelphia around 6am next Tuesday, so i will probably need to be at the airport by at least 3am, considering it's just a few days before Thanksgiving and the airport might be crowded. Here is my trip itinerary.

I'm a little bit sad to leave my rattie girls, especially Sugar. She is slowly going downhill. She is nearly 2 months past 2 years old. Her two mammary tumors are pretty big and she's losing a lot of weight. She has good & bad days. Sometimes all she wants to do is sleep and other days she is alert & "active" for her age. She is still eating, but she's been getting extra nutrition from baby food, vanilla ensure and she even likes gatorade! Sadly, I don't know if she will still be around when I come back at the end of January. All of the girls will be getting taken care of by my brother Scotty, who is 21.

I ordered two new books for the plane. I got The Queen's Mistake: In the Court of Henry VIII by Diane Haeger. I've read 'The Ruby Ring' & 'The Perfect Royal Mistress' by her & I thought they were both good. My Ginger rat, actually nibbled a bit on 'The Perfect Mistress' and I was so embarrassed when I had to take it back to the library & ask if I had to pay for damages. Luckily it was only a very tiny spot & the librarian said she would just tape it!

I also got, The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by, Carolly Erickson I'm not sure how I'll like it. I like her non fiction biography books. But I just read her new book, 'The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots' and it was ridiculous! Mary escapes being a prisoner in England under Elizabeth I, and goes to Rome for awhile to visit with the Pope, then she goes to live with her secret daughter & grandmother with the Earl of Bothwell in a cottage. It was terrible & extremely far fetched. I actually reviewed it on Her other book 'The Last Wife of Henry VIII' was terrible too I thought, but I did like 'The Tsarina's Daughter'.

I've been reading Anya Seton's books from the library lately. It started with reading Alison Weir's new book 'Mistress of the Monarchy' about Katherine Swynford's life. So I decided to take out 'Katherine' by Anya Seton to read and I really enjoyed it. I read 'Green Darkness' and it was just okay, but right now I'm reading 'The Winthrop Woman' and I'm really enjoying it. I also have 'Avalon' to read still. Most of her books were written in the 40's-50's but the writing seems very modern to me.

Fall Out Boy released a 'Best Of' album that I bought. I think I could have put together a better "Best Of" but I do like the 5 new songs that are included on the album. I especially like "From Now On We Are Enemies" & "Alpha Dog", though their rendition of "Beat It" is pretty good too. Fall Out Boy, is one of my favorite bands, I saw them in concert about 2 years ago.

And I really want Kutless' new worship album 'It Is Well'! It's only $5.00 for the MP3 download of the album. I asked for it for "Christmas". I have all of Kutless' albums. :)

While I was browsing I found out Michelle Branch is coming out with a new solo album in 2010! I am beyond excited! F.B. & I used to listen to her albums a lot early in our relationship. And her last solo album came out in 2003, before she joined 'The Wreckers' but that music was a little too country for me.

P.S. I forgot to mention. Creed has a new album 'Full Circle'. What the heck?! They broke up after their last album in 2001! Then Scott Stapp went and did his own solo album which sucked. And the other 2 guys made the band Alter Bridge, which I LOVE! Well Creed got back together to do a new album and it sucks and sounds WEIRD! I guess that could be because Scott Stapp hasn't sung for like 8 years... but his voice sounds weird and deeper, growl-ey & just plain awful! Not at all like the Creed I used to listen to. I do not like their new album and I used to be obsessed with Creed! I think the reality of it was Scott Stapp was not the talent in that band, it was the other two guys, Mark Tremonti & Brian Marshall because Alter Bridge sounds so much better!


Cookies & Trip Preparation

Less than 2 weeks until I leave for the Philippines. So crazy! I have to start packing next week & then I will just have last minute stuff to throw in my suitcase the night before I leave. I already have some stuff that I'm taking already in my suitcases, it's just not organized & I don't have any of my clothes packed yet.

The 20th, I believe I'm going to have my "Thanksgiving/Christmas" with my family. I think we may go out to eat for dinner and then exchange gifts before I go away. This will be the 2nd year I won't be home for Thanksgiving. Last year since I arrived home a week after Thanksgiving, my Mom froze me a plate of Thanksgiving dinner. This year I won't be home until the end of January. (This will also be my 2nd Christmas & New Years in the Philippines.)

I think F.B. & I are going to do what we did last year for my Thanksgiving. (Since it's an American holiday.) We'll have dinner at Gerry's Grill, go to Trinoma Mall, pick out some Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider, get some mashed potatoes from KFC & watch a movie at his house. Hehe.

I think we're also going to get our I.D. Photos taken at the mall when we go out, we will need them when we apply for our marriage license. We'll have to wait until probably November 30th to go to the USA Embassy to get my 'Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage' because the US Embassy in Manila will be closed on Thanksgiving. Unless we go on November 27th. I'm not sure yet. I know the week of the 30th we will be applying for the marriage licence, because there's a 10 day waiting period & we may or may not have to take premarital classes.

NOTE: If you are getting married in the Philippines and you are a US citizen these requirements from the US Embassy in Manila Philippines, will be helpful: Getting Married in The Philippines.

Today I did some baking. I love baking Pumpkin Bread, etc around Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year I tried baking Iced Pumpkin Cookies! I found the original recipe here, but I altered it a bit. I left out the chocolate chips (didn't have any!) and the walnuts (I don't like them.) And since I didn't have Pumpkin Pie spice handy, I put in a 1 tsp of cinnamon & a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg.

Here is the altered recipe that I used:

Iced Pumpkin Cookies


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1tsp. baking powder
1/2tsp.baking soda
1/2tsp. salt
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S 100% pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
1tsp. vanilla extract
Vanilla Glaze (recipe follows)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease baking sheets.

Mix wet ingredients together and dry ingredients together in separate bowls, before combining & mixing well. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Spread or drizzle with vanilla glaze.

Vanilla Glaze:

Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well.

Yum! They turned out well! I put the icing in the fridge to firm up a little while the cookies were still baking.


Wedding Gifts...

F.B. & I are getting married December 19, 2009 in the Philippines. I will be coming back to the USA after the wedding & F.B. will be staying in the Philippines while we work with our lawyer. Our immigration process is estimated to take at least 2 years. We are doing a longer immigration process on purpose because in the long run it will save us some money and also because when F.B. finally does come to the USA, he will be a permanent resident as soon as he steps off the plane and be able to apply for a job right away.

We do not have a wedding registry and we are not asking for any household items, gifts, etc like most married couples do, because we won't be living together for at least two years. So this is kind of cheesy, but if any of our friends or family would like to send us a wedding gift, we will be accepting donations through Paypal. Whatever amount you wish to donate is appreciated and will be used towards our lawyer & immigration fees and after that towards household items (appliances, furniture, etc.) once F.B. moves to the USA. Or you can email me & let me know what you would like your "gift" used for.

There will be a button on the sidebar of my blog (below the visitor map) if you would like to donate. It is through Paypal so it will be secure. And I believe overseas donations can be accepted also. You can also click the button below to be taken to Paypal. Thanks so much!


December 19th! Winner Announced!

A big thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway! Out of 25 entries, only four people guessed the correct date! Our wedding is going to be on Saturday, December 19, 2009!

Since four people guessed the correct date, I had to use the random number generator to determine the winner!

And the winner of the 'Guess The Wedding Date' giveaway is....

MarvelousMOM from Lucky In Love and Life! I've been reading Stephanie's blog since before she was married & had her sweet baby girl Skylar. She always has positive outlook on life & I really enjoy her blog! Congrats Stephanie!

Please email me at: tunaymahal8279ATyahooDOTcom

And let me know what color pearl you would like on your necklace! (See Swarovski pearl color chart here.) I will also need your address so I can order the necklace & have it shipped directly to you from KYM Jewelry!

We will be having our civil ceremony December 19th at the Manila Hotel, and we will be getting married in the Champagne Salon earlier in the evening before our wedding buffet dinner.

Here is a picture F.B. sent me of the Champagne Salon:

F.B. also sent me several buffet menu choices that his family had narrowed down. There were 4 menus for me to choose from. The one below was my favorite. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.) After I chose, he told me that was the menu his mom liked best too. I think that's the one we are going with. I love all of the salmon dishes on it. Yum! Salmon is my favorite! Can you believe all of those dishes on the menu will be served at the buffet? I couldn't! Wow!

My cousin Chrissy was married to her fiance Matt on November 7th! You can check out the slideshow below of her wedding!


Shopping & Parties!

Today I had to go out to run errands for trip items. I had $160 advance cash from my Citibank credit card to get stuff with. (I'm not working right now, sad... I'm on unemployment.) Anyhow, I went to the $1 Tree, Wal-mart & Ross. I got a ton of little items for the trip, batteries, sleeping pills, mini travel toothbrush (with the toothpaste already on it! I got a pack of 4 for $1.49.), tissues, razors, lint roller, face powder, quart size baggies, pepto, vitamin c, a new hair brush, wet wipes, etc. I got more than that because I also picked up some Christmas gifts, Birthday gifts, a card and gift bag for my cousin's wedding on Saturday. And household items, paper towels, etc.

My favorite store of the day was Ross. I always find good deals there. Especially on luggage. A month ago or so I picked up a medium suitcase at Ross from American Flyer for $34.00 (Retailed $70!) It was extremely light weight for a roll away suitcase. After lugging my large purple suitcase out of the closet last week, I decided I was going back to Ross and get one of the newer light weight suitcases. Most of the new luggage is being made lighter now because the airline's luggage rules have changed.

What color luggage do you use when you travel? I always try to get bold patterns or bright colors because it makes finding your luggage easier at the airport. I also always tie a bright colored ribbon onto my suitcases besides luggage tags to help identify mine more quickly! You can't imagine how many people have plain black luggage- my 1st suitcase was black & it makes it really hard to spot in baggage claim!

I found a nice large mauve suitcase at Ross for $54.00 from designer Oleg Cassini that retailed for $140.00 before! Can't beat that! I also got a pair of boot cut Levi's for $14, a cute Bongo tote bag with zipper for $8. And some panties for about $1-2 each. The hoodie, that was a bit of a splurge. It was $19, from BCBG (Retailed $52!) But I like the color of it, with the little rhinestone embellishments on the pockets & the foil logo on the back.

(Shhh... I'll pretend you guys didn't just see my underwear... lol!)

October 30th, was my cousin Chrissy's surprise bachelorette party. Most everyone had a halloween costume on. (Well, I wore my skull hoodie, haha!) There is a slideshow below with pictures from the party.


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