Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts


I don't really use this space all that much anymore, as you have probably noticed from the lack of posts. Back when I started this blog in 2008, I was more open about things. I didn't mind sharing about anything and everything going on in my life.

But somewhere in the last 4 or 5 years I've become less inclined to put myself out there. I no longer want or need to share every little aspect of my personal life, or my marriage. I've always been an introvert, but I've become much more exclusive about the friends I do let into my inner circle. I have let go of friendships as my interests or boundaries have changed. And I'm less trusting and more careful about the things I do share nowadays.

I've also been making changes when it comes to where I share on social media. My Instagram is about the only place I keep public now, besides this blog. I've made my made my Twitter private, and I've deleted the Facebook page for this blog, as I don't really feel enthusiastic about updating it anymore.

I guess we all change as we get older. I'm sure I will always pop on here when I do have something to share with you all, but I also wanted to let you know why I haven't posted as much, and why some of my social media has gone private or missing lately.

Take care,
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Hey there, blogging world. Thought I would check in and say hello. And remind you all, I'm most active on Instagram these days. And if you're not on Instagram, I do share posts over to Twitter, so you can interact with me over there too. :)

As for life, I'm still obsessed with nail polish, true crime everything, (follow me on goodreads)... and my new favorite obsession. Tea! (Particularly DavidsTea & Teavana!)

We also added two new boy ratties to the family in January. (Check out my Pet Rats page). Some photos of the current gang below. Ruby, Ben, Waffles, Chester, & Dobby.

Waffles & I.

I'm still not doing any sponsored nail polish or product reviews. Now days I only show off a nail polish (or nail art) when I actually wear it. It's a much more laid back, and genuinely fun and stress free approach, compared to when I was blogging constantly. I still post all my nail photos to Instagram, & Pinterest.

33 has always been my favorite number. And so far year 33 of life for me has been really interesting, so far. I got to visit the Lizzie Borden House, (best adventure ever!) I got to visit my cousin Chrissy in Georgia! I started writing again, (albeit; intermittently), on a book I've been working on for a good ten years! (You can take a peek at the first 3 chapters here). Hopefully the rest of my year 33 is just as good as the first half was.

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If you read last weeks blog post... 

I just wanted to remind everyone, I will still be posting casually on my Instagram & Twitter. Heads up: There will be other things mixed in with my casual nail polish posts, it's not nails only- reason for this is because I want to get back to what I love, and it's less stress for me. I am no longer doing any product reviews or sponsored content. Honestly, I'm not sure where this blog is headed at the moment... which is another reason for the break...


*I am not currently accepting any products for review or advertisement. Emails for such solicitations will be ignored.

Cirque Colors: Coronation
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A Break Up.

Note: I am not currently accepting any products for review or advertisement. Emails for such solicitations will be ignored.

After 4 years in the nail blogging world. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly....

Click below to read the rest of this post...

Pets are just as bad as children... (UPDATED)

So, end of September my girl Toffee (who is about 14 months old), started getting a mammary tumor under her right leg. (Tumors are common in females rats). Usually it is my older or elderly females who get mammary tumors, and they are usually too old to be put through the stress of surgery. Usually it's just a quality of life decision I have to make. But, Toffee is youngish, very energetic, and active. She is only the 2nd female I've owned who got a tumor quite young. So we made the decision to have the tumor removed by my vet. (Which was $400 altogether). If we didn't get it removed, it would just keep growing and getting larger.

Click below to read more! 

I got my Helmer! :)

Thursday was my birthday, and one of my gifts this year was an Ikea Helmer! Coveted and utilized by almost every nail polish blogger in the blogging world. The Helmer is capable of holding 500-600 bottles of nail polish.

Picture Heavy, so more after the jump! ;-)

Honest Bloggers

A friend of mine recently experienced some unnecessary drama and backlash after posting a lukewarm review. I wanted to to create something positive out of this whole situation, and that is the 'Honest Blogger' button. 

As a blogger you want to give a fair review. You want to be honest. And we should never be afraid to post our genuine thoughts on a product, no matter what. Not everyone wants to read a blog where all the products are fabulous like unicorns and rainbows. This is real life. I'm sorry but, shit cannot be gold no matter how much you polish it!

If you're doing a press sample review, it is considered proper etiquette to run your review by the maker or company, so that any little issues or product problems can be resolved beforehand. (This is not necessary for something you've purchased yourself. That is up to your own discretion). You should never feel bullied or intimidated to not share your genuine experience with a product in a tactful manner. And if a maker or company, or it's "fans" are doing this do you- you probably shouldn't work with them in the future. A good maker or company should be able to handle a little criticism in a professional manner, and come out looking better for it. 

Honest reviews are what helps our readers decide if a product is for them. Just because it doesn't work for you as the blogger, doesn't mean the product won't work for someone else. But as an honest blogger we are committed to letting our readers know about any little issues we may have with a product. 

"Always be honest. Always be tactful. Never let yourself be bullied. And never let someone steal your shine". That's the Honest Bloggers motto.

It's sad this even needs to be said, but it's true. All too often bloggers are bought or bullied into giving a sugar coated review.

If you want to share this button on your blog or website, please feel free. (You can even share it on your 'about me' or 'disclosure' page). Let your readers know you are committed to giving them 100% honest reviews.

Honest Blogger

Another good article about honest reviews is: Honest Reviews - as easy as it sounds? from The Mercurial Magpie. Check it out!

Also check out this post on honesty & blogging from Charismatically Polished!

P.S. You can find my button on my Disclosure Page. 

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10 Year Anniversary!

My husband & I first started dating 10 years ago today! Yes... on April Fool's Day... lol! 04/01/2004. I can't believe it's been a decade already.... absolutely crazy...

I've cataloged our relationship over the years on my blog so check out: Our Time Line.

And, since I'm feeling nostalgic today, here's a preview of our Mahal Mix Tape. (Song preview links on Amazon).

P.S. I'm a bit incapacitated this week... I somehow strained/sprained my middle finger using the touch pad on my laptop while editing photos... it's extremely painful and my knuckle is all swollen. Never had this happen. :-( I still have quite a few photo's I need to edit, but I don't have many blog posts scheduled. Blah... but don't worry, there will be another nail polish post up on Thursday... Enchanted Polish... so stay tuned! :-)

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Paid Off!

I recently paid off my car. I bought my Nissan Versa back in February of 2009 brand new for $13,000 after taxes, and it's been 5 years already of paying it off. When my balance got down to around $2,500 I had the idea to pay it off with my Citibank credit card which has a lower interest rate. Plus, the flexibility works better for me. If I'm furloughed from work or don't quite have enough money that month, I can just pay the minimum and not worry. With the car loan there wasn't too much flexibility since it was one set payment every month.

Yay! 5 years later and I now own my car!

The next step is working towards paying off my Citibank card by paying $200 every month. I have a $8,000 balance at Citibank with the rest of the car on there now. I had 3 week Government Shutdown & then a 5 week furlough last year. I had to borrow money to pay bills so my balance got quite high. Now that the car is "technically" paid off I can work towards paying down my credit card. I also always give my tax refund every year to my biggest balance credit cards. So hopefully *fingers crossed* by next year I will be looking at a lot less credit card debt.

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Different Directions

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I never actually sat down to do it. When I started Tunay Na Mahal back in March 2008 I started as more of a lifestyle & love blog. It cataloged my long distance relationship with my then boyfriend, now husband. We documented our immigration process, my travels overseas.

I've always intended Tunay Na Mahal to be my space. Where I can write about whatever I'm into at that moment. I've written about travel, books, music, I've shared recipes. I've shared about my pet rats on this blog.

The past several years, my big hobby has been nail polish. And lately this blog has started to become more of a nail & beauty blog. I've started doing nail polish reviews for different companies in exchange for samples, and I want to expand on that. Nail polish and nail art is a great hobby of mine. I find it relaxing and I love the art aspect of it (stamping, etc). I love the photography and photo editing too.

Tunay Na Mahal is still going to be my space. I don't ever want to box myself in. I want it to continue to be a place where I can come write about whatever. For the most part, lately this blog has been headed towards a nail & beauty blog. But occasionally between nail polish posts, I may post a recipe, share a day trip, or talk about books/music or share some photos of my rats, etc.

Hope you will stick around!

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Super Sick...

I've been really really sick since last Saturday night, sicker than I've ever felt.  I've missed a week of work and ended up in the ER yesterday morning. They ran blood tests, gave me a chest xray and IV because I was dehydrated. The ER thinks it's either strep (they didn't get my throat culture back) or influenza. They sent me home with antibiotics. I've pretty much missed a week of my life because I've just been sleeping nonstop, drinking lot's of gatorade. I haven't really been online at all. I've had blog posts scheduled, but forgive me if I haven't replied to comments yet. Still resting up so I can hopefully get back to work on Monday.

Government Shutdown...

 Photo from CNN

Tuesday at 12am, the US Government failed to agree on a new fisical budget, and the Government shut down. I don't talk about my job too much on this blog. I've worked for the Dept of the Treasury, for the past 11 years. All non essential government employees were placed on immediate furlough. 800,000 federal employee's now have no job and no paycheck. Myself included.

We only have one income. We are not rich, we live paycheck to paycheck. This morning I had to put in a request to borrow money from my credit card and opened my claim for unemployment. The last shutdown back in the 90's lasted 21 days... that's far too long to go without a paycheck. National parks and monuments are closed. The House and Congress do not understand how this effects regular people- because they are still getting a paycheck while they bicker about the budget. I'm not sure how long this shutdown will last... but it's scary... 

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Immigration Update: APPROVED!

I got some great news today! An email from our immigration lawyer saying Vermont USCIS had finally processed our immigration paperwork for the removal of my husband's conditional status. It took them 5 months to process everything. (Which was better than the estimate of 8 months to 1 year we were given because they were backlogged).

He is approved! And we are done immigration for a good long while! He will get his permanent resident card in the mail soon and we won't have to renew that for quite some time. His card will be good for 10 years. (And renewing won't be half the paperwork it took to get this far!)

 Approved Yay! (Important information blurred obviously)

Below are some key blog posts documenting our entire immigration process up until now. (If you want to see all the posts you can click here: Immigration Process).

Our immigration process started back in 2008. We started doing research the year before we were married because we knew we would have to save money for the fee's.

8-20-2008: Immigration Lawyers 

12-19-2009: F.B. & I were married in the Philippines. After we were married I came back to the USA so we could start our immigration process.

01-31-2010: 1st Meeting: Immigration Lawyer

02-24-2010: Moving along in our immigration process

04-11-2010: The Waiting Game...

06-01-2010: Now we're getting somewhere!

07-23-2010: Finally completed our I-864

10-14-2010: NVC: Step 4 of 6.

01-12-2011: Immigration Update

01-19-2011: Yikes! Just 2 weeks until.... (F.B.'s Visa Interview in Manila, Philippines). 

02-03-2011: WHOO HOO! (Visa Approved!)

Busy First Week! (F.B. arrived in the USA)

03-06-2012: 1 Year in the USA!

10-10-2012: Hubby's birthday & getting immigration started again.

12-01-2012: Thanksgiving and Immigration... (Removing conditional status from F.B.'s resident card).

12-20-2012: 3 Year Anniversary! (Immigration & the Holidays)

05-09-2013: Immigration Update: Approved!

NOTE: Our lawyers Peter J. Gonzales & Shanna Stanton have changed firms. They are no longer with Kahiga Tiagha. They are now with Green and Spiegel LLC, and still located in Philadelphia.

Shannon Stanton lawyer profile on on

Peter J. Gonzales lawyer profile on


Valentines Day 2013!

Since Valentines Day fell on a week day and after a lonngggg work day, we stayed in and had Chinese takeout. My husband got me roses and my new favorite L'Occitane almond lotion. And I got him a few Playstation 2 games. :-)

Here are some photos (mainly Instagram) from our Valentines 2013.

My coworker of 11 years gave out pink/red carnations to all the ladies at work.
Hearts on the card I got my husband.
Roses & L'Occitane!
Close up
My new favorite scent.
We bought this a few days before Valentines haha. Couldn't wait!

Right before Valentines, I won a giveaway from the Bama+Ry Shop on Facebook! Jasmine makes gorgeous custom stamped copper & nickel jewelry. I love the jewelry she makes. Like these cute bird earrings and this beautiful inspire pendant. I also love this home is where the heart is necklace.
I was so lucky to win one of her pieces! I love the heart & key design, because when my husband & I were dating & so far apart from each other, we had heart & key key chains. (Kind of like these). The necklace arrived just in time for Valentine's Day. And it came in such cute packaging too! Thank you Jasmine! I love it! :-)


Weekend Getaway!

F.B. & I decided to have a little "staycation" getaway. Saturday into Sunday we checked into the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square section. The hotel was just two blocks down from the Academy of Music. I found a nice rate on our room on

Check in was at 3pm on Saturday. We took the train down to Suburban Station. We got downtown around 2pm, so we decided to walk around a little bit. We checked out The Shops at Liberty Place. It's a small mall right near City Hall.

Glass dome roof inside Liberty Place

City Hall
Our Hotel

There was a Starbucks downstairs inside the hotel! They also had a Tiffany & Co, Williams & Sonoma and some other shops downstairs.

Our room!
We headed to dinner after checking in. We ate at Ruby Tuesday at Liberty Place. Then walked around a little after dinner. And I got some Starbucks when we got back to the hotel, hehe.

Sirloin steak, broccoli & mashed cauliflower
Top shelf long island iced tea
F.B. with our chocolate lava cake for dessert. 

Art school across the street from the hotel. We could see ballerina's practicing in the studio from the sidewalk. :)
Academy of Music was 2 blocks from the hotel.
Light outside the Academy of Music.
Starbucks & Chocolate back at the hotel!

Courtyard out our hotel window

 Check out was at 12pm. I forgot to take pictures of us when we came back to the hotel after dinner, I was tired. lol. So that's why my hair is wet here.

We checked out shops on Chestnut Street & Walnut Street after checking out. Walnut Street has a bunch of high end shops. The one I really wanted to stop at was L'Occitane!

My loot from L'Occitane! Almond soap, Verbena soap, Almond oil body wash, Verbena hand lotion, Almond lotion, Rose solid perfume.

We decided to head to 30th Street Station to take the train back home. It was sunny, but very cold and windy out! We walked from Broad St all the way to 30th Street Station.

Comcast Center
Church on 17th Street, I liked the red door.

Bridge near Schuylkill Ave.
Oh hi work... see you Tuesday...
30th Street Station, Amtrack building in the back.
Bridge near Schuylkill Ave.
30th Street Station
I got a cute Philadelphia tote bag for work and a metal city souvenir from the book shop inside 30th Street Station. Yeah... playing tourist in my own city again, lol. Ever since my office moved downtown back in December 2010 and I've been riding the trains. I've definitely been checking out more of downtown Philadelphia than ever before.

F.B. tired on the train home.
Me waiting in the car, while F.B. get Wendy's for dinner!
We had a really nice weekend. But boy with all that walking, we are exhausted!

P.S. This was the note F.B. left on my coffee cup and I found when I got to work Thursday morning. (I make my coffee at home in the morning and my travel tumbler goes into my work bag until I get to work).

Other Philadelphia Adventures:
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