World Rat Day!

Back to the Philippines in November!

I bought my plane ticket on Orbitz this afternoon. I've been researching plane tickets for a few weeks now. The prices are not bad but the flight I've always taken the delay when I get back to Chicago is only 1 hour and that's not enough time to claim my luggage, go through customs, take a tram train to my terminal, go through security and make my plane. Last time I was stopped at customs and one year my luggage was lost and never made my flight because they don't give you enough time.

I was really looking for a longer delay when I get back to the USA. So I found a flight that gives me a 4 hour delay when I arrive in Chicago. That is more than enough time. The only thing is I will be stopping at 2 airports I've never been to before. 1 in Tokyo Japan on the way there. And then Shanghai China on the way back. But I still get to go from Philadelphia to Chicago. The other good thing is, when I leave the Philippines I'm leaving in the afternoon instead of in the middle of the night. And I'm also leaving through Philippine Airlines which means I get to go to the smaller airport and will have more time to say goodbye to F.B. When I arrive in Manila, I'll be at the larger international airport and I'll be taking Japan Airlines. I've never flown Japan Airlines before. I'll also be using American Airlines. I've always used United Airlines, but I did take American to Florida 2 years ago.

There were only 4 tickets left for the flight I wanted. And I wanted to think it over before buying it. I saw the ticket on Thursday night. I slept on it. The reason mostly because we haven't been having overtime at work and I still have $800 on my other credit card that I wanted to get lower before buying a ticket and adding $1,200 to another credit card. (at least it's 0% apr for a year!) But this morning when I woke up I was thinking, "Next month is May!" I can't believe how the year is flying. And I will still need to apply for my visa this year too. So this afternoon I bought my ticket and I will be heading back to the Philippines in late November.

Leave Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Depart: American Airlines, 6:15am Philadelphia International (PHL)
Arrive: 7:45am Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)

Change planes. Time between flights: 1hr 35min

Depart: American Airlines, 11:05am Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)
Arrive: 3:15pm Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Narita (NRT)

Change planes. Time between flights: 3hr 5min

Depart: Japan Airlines, 6:30pm Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Arrive: 10:30pm Manila, Philippines Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (MNL)

This is an overnight flight. Total duration: 25hr 25min | Total miles: 8837 miles

Return Saturday, January 23, 2010

Depart: Philippine Airlines 12:20pm Philippines, Manila Ninoy Aquino Intl (MNL)
Arrive: 3:50pm Shanghai, China Shanghai PuDong (PVG)

Change planes. Time between flights: 2hr 10min

Depart: American Airlines 6:00pm Shanghai, China Shanghai PuDong (PVG)
Arrive: 5:10pm Chicago, IL Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)

Change planes. Time between flights: 4hr 5min

Depart: American Airlines 9:15pm Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)
Arrive: 12:10am Philadelphia International (PHL)

This is an overnight flight. Total duration: 24hr 44min | Total miles: 8889 miles

The only thing is, I'm leaving a few days before Thanksgiving. I will also miss Christmas & New Years at home this year. I guess I will have to do an early "Thanksgiving/Christmas" with my family like I did in 2006 before my first trip to the Philippines. This will be by 4th trip to the Philippines.

Once I arrive in November, F.B. & I will go to the US Embassy so I can get my Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. Then we can apply for our marriage license and after a 10 day waiting period we can make an appointment with a judge in Cainta, Rizal to have our civil wedding ceremony. Then we were going to just have a dinner afterwards. F.B. said his parents were talking about giving us a "reception" most likely a dinner party. I know they will invite all the relatives, hehe.

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.

When I get back from the Philippines in January, I'll be starting the immigration process for F.B. with our lawyer. The process will take close to 2 years before F.B. will be able to come to the USA. But we are doing it the longer way so when he does arrive in the USA, he will be a permanent resident alien. We are choosing do to it this way because we want more time to save money for when we are together. Also, even though it will take longer it will actually save us money in the long run.

So now that I've gotten my plane ticket, the next step will be to apply for my 59 day visa in September from the Philippine Consulate. Now to start paying this plane ticket off...


5 Years Ago

5 years ago today F.B. & I first said "I love you." 5 years ago today we decided to start this relationship. April 1st, 2004 was a defining moment in our relationship. We've been through so much together in these past 5 years, and I look forward to our future together...

Happy Anniversary Baby, I Love You.

I've decided to name a category on my blog: 'The Beginning'. If you click on it it will bring up key stories on how F.B. & I began our relationship.

Music has always been a way for us to connect and express our feelings for one another. It's been a way to stay close even when we are so far apart. F.B. & I would send each other mix CD's in the beginning of our relationship. One year we compiled our favorites onto a CD and called it: 'The Best Of: Mahal Mix'. ('Mahal' means love in Tagalog.) I wanted to share the list of songs that's on our 'Best Of' CD. There are links to where you can listen to a preview or purchase the songs.

1. Brand New Day: Forty Foot Echo

2. You: Switchfoot

3. Everywhere: Michelle Branch

4. She Will Be Loved: Maroon 5

5. A Thousand Miles: Vanessa Carlton

6. The Reason: Hoobastank

7. It's Gonna Be Love: Mandy Moore

8. I'll Be: Edwin Mccain

9. Wait For Me: Rebecca St. James

10. Iris: Goo Goo Dolls

11. Naked: Avril Lavigne

12. Beautiful Soul: Jesse McCartney

13. On The Way Down: Ryan Cabrera

14. Happy Together: The Turtles

15. Unwell: Matchbox Twenty

16. Passenger Seat: Stephen Speaks

17. If You're Not The One: Daniel Bedingfield

18. For You: The Calling

There are also a few albums that really stand out to me. Whenever I listen to them I'm reminded of how our relationship began 5 years ago and how far we've come.

A Walk To Remember: Soundtrack

A Walk To Remember: Soundtrack, was one of the very first albums F.B. & I shared and listened to. It just fit for the feelings we were starting to have for one another.

Michelle Branch: The Spirit Room

One of the first private messages I ever sent F.B. I quoted some lyrics from the song 'Breathe'. It was also the first song I ever played on the guitar for him over the phone.

Michelle Branch: Hotel Paper

'Breathe' & 'Desperately' were song lyrics F.B. shared with me. We both had Michelle Branch's albums and it became a way to connect with each other by listening to the same music.

Maroon 5: Songs About Jane

This was one of the first CD's I went out and bought after F.B. recommended it to me. He would quote Maroon 5 lyrics to me sometimes. And 'She Will Be Loved' is one of our favorites.


Meet Tansy!

It's been a very busy week and weekend for me. Last weekend I started looking for cats at different shelters in my area. I put in an application for one kitty but my application wasn't approved so I began my search again. Friday night my brother and I stopped at the Petco near my work because I wanted to apply for some shelter cats I had seen online at that location. We looked at all the cats and I really loved the cat named 'Sara'. She was so pretty and 1-2 years old, already spayed & litter trained.

I got the volunteer hours mixed up though. The volunteer hours were 6-8pm and it was 4pm. We wouldn't be able to fill out an application until then, so my brother & I decided to check out some other pet stores to see if they were selling kittens. We went to 3 different places but they only had male kittens. While at Neshaminy mall I got a great deal at American Eagle though. They were having buy one top get the other 50% off! I was able to get two hoodies for $21! Black & Hot Pink. American Eagle is one of my favorite stores and I love their sales & clearance prices.

We got back to the Petco around 7pm. I still didn't see any volunteers so I went to ask one of the cashiers that I was interested in adopting a cat and was there someone that could help me with an application? The cashiers didn't really know and said they would send someone over to help me. While I waited I decided to call the main branch of the shelter to ask if their volunteer was at this location because I didn't see anyone. (The cashiers never did send anyone over to help me.)

After I hung up with the shelter (they said they would check.) I finally saw the shelter's volunteer cleaning one of the cat's cages, so I waved through the glass and she came out to greet us and give us an application. (I also called the shelter back to say there was a volunteer here.) She came out to greet us and I told her the cashiers told me they didn't know where the volunteers were and she's like, "Oh... I can't believe them." She said the way they set the cages up in this store she had a hard time seeing people if she was in the back cleaning.

She was really nice and let me fill out an application and then came to meet with me and talk with me and ask me questions about my rats/pets and what would I do in different situations. I asked her lot's of questions about 'Sara'. She let my brother & I go in the back and meet her. She was very playful and let us pet her and she was loving on us and rubbing against our hands. After we talked some more the lady said she was going to approve me and I could either pick 'Sara' up another night or I could take her home with me that night! I didn't think I would be approved that fast since most shelters had a 7-10 day application process. I was so happy!

Her adoption fee was $50.00. I bought a pet carrier & Hill's science diet food she was eating at the shelter. With the new adoption coupons the total only came to $46.00 even though the food was $13.00 and the carrier was $60.00! After I signed my adoption contract and wrote a check to the shelter we were able to take her! The lady gave us her little mouse toy & ball toy to play with. Then we stopped at walmart to pick up some toys, a brush and a litter pan. I still have to get her a set of bowls, a collar & tag with her name on it.

I've decided to name her Tansy after the flowers. Because she's so sweet and has these big yellow eyes. I think she's a mix between a tortoiseshell and calico. Her belly is all white but her top is a mixture of brown, grey, orange tabby cat all mixed up. The shelter said she was found back in November as a stray in West Philadelphia. Poor girl.

Meet Tansy:

On her first night home she was so curious running all around and exploring. She didn't want to sit still. She can be very loving, loves to be pet, will rub up against people. But then she has her moments where she's had enough attention and will give you a look and try to swat you. She is still getting used to her surroundings though and I imagine she is just stressed and confused right now and it will takes some more time for her to feel comfortable in her new home and around us.

We discovered though... she tries to chew wires! So in the evening when we go to bed we've been keeping her in the downstairs bathroom which is very large, with her carrier, food & water and litter. (With the toilet closed of course.) In the morning she is allowed in the dining room and living room, but we've been keeping the bathroom/bedroom doors closed until she is used to the house. And she's not allowed in my bedroom because the rat's cage is in there and I don't want her sticking her paw in and getting bit or for her to hurt the rats in any way.

She's such an intelligent girl though... and naughty. Yesterday I was on my laptop in the living room and it got very quiet. I went into the dining room... and Tansy has somehow opened my mom's china cabinet and was inside! Here is what I saw:

She is a really sweet cat & I love her already. I really feel she was meant to be my cat just because the shelter had given her the name 'Sara'. Hehe. I have to make an appointment for her to get a check up at my vet probably the 2nd week of April.

Bath & Beauty

I thought I would share today the various bath & body products that I use and love.


1. St. Ives Body Wash: Energizing Citrus

I actually fell in love with this bodywash in the Philippines & I bought it when I came home. It just smells so good, like lemons, grapefruit, etc. Yum. Plus it comes in a huge bottle and lasts for a long time. I love it.

2. Dove go fresh Beauty Bar, Cool Moisture Cucumber & Green Tea

I alternate days between bodywash & soap. This smells like green tea & cucumbers and leaves your skin nice & soft.

3. Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner

My hair's been weird lately. I have very fine long straight hair. But lately it's gotten frizzy in places where it's growing out & this is the only shampoo that's worked for me so far! I love the smell of this, kind of a tropical scent. It leaves my hair sleek & smooth. I tried their anti-frizz shampoo but this one worked best for my hair.

4. St. Ives Apricot Scrub for Oily or Acne Prone Skin

I love love love this scrub. I've used it for years. It smells nice and it really cleans deep down and leaves your skin clean & soft. I use it a few times a week.

5. Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Bar

I have oily skin & I break out from time to time. I love Clinque soap because it's gentle. I've been using this for months and I haven't had to buy a new one yet, it's a huge bar of soap & comes in it's own soap holder.

6. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

Best face lotion ever. It's gentle and it doesn't have a scent to it and leaves my face moisturized.

7. Secret Scent Expressions Deodorant: Vava Vanilla

They discontinued their other scent Vanilla Chai. But this smells similar. I love the vanilla scent. It's different for a deodorant.

8. Dove go fresh Deodorant: Cool Essentials

Yes, I also alternate deodorants. Sometimes if I use the same scent for a long time it will stop working, so I alternate. This smells like the Dove soap I use. Cucumber and green tea. Mmmm.

9. Jergens Naturals Lotion: Soothe

This is a new product. I really love the scent, it smells like vanilla. It has yogurt & chamomile in it. I have sensitive skin so this doesn't irritate. (Especially my legs after shaving!)

10. Queen Helene Masque: Mint Julep

Another I've been using for years. This smells sooo good! It tingles when you put it on your face, it's really relaxing & soothing. I use it every few weeks or so.


1. Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation: Fair Ivory

Out of all the foundations I've tried (even MAC) I still love Max Factor the best. It really stays put and I like the coverage.

2. Mac Sheer Loose Powder: NC5

Love it! I used to use Physician's Formula powder but then I switched to this. It's much lighter & covers nicely in a flawless way. I don't think I'm ever going to use another face powder again.

3. Mac Blotting Powder: Light

I started using this last year. It's fantastic! I put it over my normal powder. It makes your skin really smooth and keeps oil away without adding any extra color. I have to get a new one soon, mine is almost gone.

4. Maybelline Cover Stick Waterproof Concealer: Ivory

I've used this since I was a teenager. I've never found another concealer that can match this stuff. It's perfect for covering up pimples, red spots, etc. It blends easy & stays put the whole day since it's waterproof.

5. Mac Pigment Eyeshadow: Naked

I've been using MAC pigment eyeshadow for several years now. I'm never going to use another brand again! These are perfect. I own several colors but I like 'naked' best. These eyeshadows last forever too because a little goes a long way & they give you so much in a jar. It doesn't crease & it's got nice subtle sparkle.

6. Avon Glimmersticks Eyeliner: Blackest Black

I've had lot's of issues with eyeliner. I think my eyes must be deep set so after several hours I always find a line of eyeliner on my brow bone! I tried so many black eyeliners before I came across this one! It doesn't budge. I love it!

7. Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss: Raspberry

I love this stuff. I don't like lipstick. I always use lipgloss. This one is like a lipbalm and a lip gloss in one. It's got a nice sheer color & lot's of shine. It's not sticky either & doesn't have a taste to it. I always use 'raspberry'.

8. Burt's Bees Lip Balm

I became addicted to this a few years ago. It's all natural and I love the tingly mint taste. It's perfect for dry chapped lips. Another that goes with me everywhere!

9. Bonne Belle Lip Smacker Dr. Pepper Lip Gloss

I've used Lip Smacker since I was a kid. I used to have a whole collection of them. Dr. Pepper is my favorite though. I love the color of it. It's got a nice natural red sheen to it and I love the cherry taste.

10. Victoria's Secret Pink Body Mist & Lotion

This is my scent! I love Victoria's Secret Pink! I've been wearing it for years now & I haven't tired of it. It smells so good like fresh flowers. I prefer using the body mist though because it's lighter & it lasts much longer than the perfume since you get a bigger bottle of it.

(Nope, not getting paid to recommend these products! I just wanted to share them, because I love them!)

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Popcorn: July 4 1993 - March 18 2009

My cat Popcorn passed away around 8:30pm this evening. She was 15 years old. She seemed just fine today. I saw her in the morning before I left for work, cuddled up on the back of the sofa and I pet her head before I left. This evening she was okay too. My parents said she was even eating some leftover sausage scraps from dinner. My 14 year old brother Sean even gave her a bath.

Around 8pm my mother knocked on my bedroom door and told me Popcorn had had a violent seizure and that she was not doing well at all and asked if I wanted to come and see her. She was laid out on the sofa, next to my brothers still wet from her bath earlier. Her eyes were not blinking her one ear looked crooked and her tongue was protruding slightly. She was paralyzed. She would try to breathe every now and then give a horrible groan and her paws would twitch...

I called my vet but got the answering machine with the number for the emergency vet service. I called them and got directions and got dressed, I didn't want her to suffer all night... we were going to have her put to sleep. I was waiting for my parents to get ready when Popcorn wasn't making any noises. I felt for her heartbeat and it was still there and asked my brother to check too... but just as quick as that she wasn't with us anymore... and she passed away around 8:30pm....

My Dad & Scotty buried her outside under the trees. We said goodbye to her before they took her outside. It was just so sudden tonight... I wasn't expecting this at all. We were all talking about our cats this morning at work... I am very upset... my whole family is upset. We got Popcorn when I was just 11 years old, and I will be 27 this year... my brother Sean who is 14 is also really upset. When I first went away to the Philippines almost 3 years ago Popcorn became really attached to Sean and was his buddy. Goodbye Popcorn... we will miss you...

Four Feet in Heaven

Your favorite chair is vacant now...
No eager purrs to greet me.
No softly padded paws to run
Ecstatically to meet me.
No coaxing rubs, no plaintive cry
Will say it's time for feeding.
I've put away your bowl, and all
The things you won't be needing;
But I will miss you little friend,
For I could never measure
The happiness you brought me,
The comfort and the pleasure.
And since God put you here to share
In earthly joy and sorrow;
I'm sure there'll be a place for you
In Heaven's bright tomorrow...

By, Alice E. Chase


An Award!

I was sitting here going through my blogger dashboard and checking in on the blogs I read everyday. Lynn over at Rattie Corner was awarded the 'One Lovely Blog' award. Congratulations! I always enjoy reading about her ratties. I also saw she awarded my blog too, wow! It must be my lucky day, first I find $4 on the ground & now I get an award! Heehee. Thank you so much Lynn, I really appreciate it!

If you read my blog, you know it is pretty much a mix of everything. It is about my long distance relationship with my fiance F.B., it is about my travels to the Philippines, it is about what books I'm reading, what music I'm listening too, what stores I'm shopping at, etc. And you also know a big part of it is about my pets, rats included! Basically this blog is about my life and I love writing about different topics that are important to me and that may be interesting or helpful to all of you! I also had my very first blog giveaway this past month and I know I'm planning some more for the future! Thank you for reading!

I would like to do what Lynn did & pass this award onto some of my favorite blogs:

One Crazy Bride

Tales of a Misguided Mommy

Lucky in Love & Life


Call me Crazy

Chronicles of an exhausted mom

I have too many favorite blogs it's not easy for me to narrow it down, haha! Congrats everyone!


Star's Rat Rescue

My friend Brittney operates Star's Rat Rescue in Winner, South Dakota. Brittney helps rescue rats in need and helps to place them in forever loving homes. You can see her current adoptable rats on

Brittney also makes hammocks, cage liners & cubes for rats. All of her proceeds go towards her rescue. For more information you can visit her store here.

I recently ordered a Ferret Nation cage liner set & two cubes from her rescue. (She has a great selection of fabrics so you can customize your order!) They arrived on Thursday and they were so nice! The cage liners were thick and soft. Each of the liners has elastic on the bottom so it will secure nicely in the cage. The cubes were adorable, my ratties really loved them!

Here are some pictures of my girls enjoying their cubes:

The girls cage looks so nice now with everything in it here are a few pictures:

For more information on Star's Rat Rescue please click here.

Or if you own pets rats or are interested in owning them, please feel free to come and hang out with us at the ratchatter forums here.


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