Moving Forward...

Saturday night I was finally able to relax; take a break and hang out with my cousins. We had Chinese food for dinner (General Tso's chicken, yum.), watched a movie (Coming to America- Eddie Murphy.) & had some drinks. (Stoli Blueberry Vodka & Sprite and Rum & Coke.)

Around 12 midnight F.B. texted me & said he was at Mall of Asia at an Internet cafe and if I wanted we could meet on messenger. Yay! So I finally got to talk to my boy for over an hour on Yahoo Messenger and then he even sent me email too. I'm going to share the email because it has details about the flooding in it:

Hi baby. I miss you. It was nice being able to chat with you. As you know, I'm in MOA right now. Mom and aunts met up someplace and I just didn't tag along with 'em anymore. Had lunch at the food court here at MOA. Had some grilled squid. I'm really getting addicted to squid. haha. Wish we could hang out. I miss your company.

Anyway, I'll just tell you about the recent flood. That was Saturday morning and we chatted the night before. I remember telling you about the rain and hoping that it wouldn't flood. Though flooding was almost expected, we really weren't prepared for the amount that came on that day. There was water in front of the house already when I got the cars out. I brought 'em to one of mom's friends in the village. The water was rising really fast though and when I was heading back home. I almost had to swim through the flood. It was really tiring wading through that flood.

So when I got back home most of our stuff was kinda soaked already, but I still tried to save some stuff while I still could and put stuff on my upper shelves like the computer, laptop, our albums, etc. Mom, Ate, and Lady have been raising up stuff too while I wasn't around. But everything just happened so fast. So you can't help but panic sometimes, and you just kinda lose some common sense and don't know what to do.

We realized that we had to abandon the house since the rain just wouldn't let up. When we did go to the house next door, the flood was about chest high in the garage alone. It's good that our neighbors took us in. We're very grateful for that. The flood came down around Monday morning so we were able to go back to our house to see what happened. Everything was a mess. Furniture was everywhere, the fridge was laying on the floor face down, the cabinet in the dining room where the TV was fell over too and of course the TV on it. The dining table was still standing though it was in a different position. I guess it might've floated. Anyway, you get the idea. So it took a while to clear a path around the house taking out the furniture and stuff.

I had a tough time entering my room too cuz my bed was blocking the door and it was tough to push the bed through the little opening. and there was other stuff too since we did try to put stuff to save on the bed too. I eventually managed to squeeze in the little opening in my door though. Everything was just muddy and that mud really stinks too. Anyway, throwing out lotsa stuff like vcds. Was glad I saved your letters and albums baby. and the laptop and comp. seems ok, though haven't really tried em yet.

Got back to the house around Thursday night and we're just sleeping in one room. That room where Ate Malou sleeps. We just use comforters on the floor. My bed is the only thing left in my room. It still seems ok. Just needs a new mattress. We all need new mattresses. The flood did get about chest high in my room. You can see through the marks of the water and mud on the walls and stuff. My cabinets had to go already since they were pretty much destroyed.

Ya know, we're still kinda lucky though since other places got their houses flooded in fully and some of our neighbors on our street weren't able to get their cars out of the flood. The first time we went out of the village to buy some food and other supplies, it was really crazy. Everything was muddy and dirty, and the traffic was even worst than usual. Plus there was alot of cars lined up on the streets that got flooded in. Really crazy stuff. But like I said we're still lucky. We still have our lives, our home, and even our cars, plus some material stuff were saved too even if it's not too many.

Thanks for calling and texting btw. It's nice to hear from you especially at a time like this. Just been busy lately and it's nice to have some sorta break even for a while. I'll be getting offline soon. Been here at the net cafe for almost 3 hours now. Maybe I'll still have some time just to walk around and stuff at the mall. Take care. I love you Sarah. *mwah*

Your F.B.

They are still putting the house in order. He said alot of the furniture was in the garage & in the covered garden outside right now while they are cleaning up. He also said he thinks his PC will work because it didn't get wet or get mud on it. Good news. I'm just so thankful that F.B. & his family are okay & now they can begin to move forward.

P.S. A cute blog entry by my future sister in law.


Some Good News!

F.B. texted me this morning with the following news:

We're ok here.heard d storm has changed its path.thats good news.had dinner out.i miss u.i love u.mwah

Typhoon Pepeng (international codename Parma) has changed direction. Metro Manila & nearby provinces are no longer under threat!

Please continue to pray for the families effected by the flooding as they try to move forward after this horrible tragedy.

Also don’t forget, Philippine National Red Cross is now accepting overseas donations through Paypal!


Text Messages

Sarah Lynn: I cant sleep Im so worried. the new storm was upgraded to supertyphoon. supposd 2 hit Sat. plse keep in contact. I love you. in my prayers

F.B: I know.i saw in d newspaper.mite b more wind tho.but hopefully rain wont b as much.startin 2 stink up in village cuz of trash.i miss u.i love u

Sarah Lynn: Miss kita. now they r saying Laguna de Bay level 2 break 90yr record may flood metro manila & nearby provinces. I love you.

F.B: I kno.hopefully this comin typhoon wont have as much rain & just pass by room's pretty much cleared out.been a busy day.quite tired.i miss u.i love u

Sarah Lynn: keeping every1 in my prayers- I just wish it was Nov already & we were 2gether. need kita. I love u. stay safe get sleep soon.

F.B: Thanx 4 your prayers baby.btw,d electrician checked d dvd player & it works again tho d screen's dead.oh well.we mostly watch on tv anyway.hehe.i love u.mwah

Sarah Lynn: thats sum good news baby. glad your room is almost cleaned up. I love you. Im thinkng bout you. *mwah*

F.B: Well,kinda clean i guess.i just have my bed here w/c still seems pretty good.its quite durable.minus d matress.& have my dry stuff up on d shelves.i love u.mwah

Sarah Lynn: Thats sumthng at least.It will b bak 2 normal sooner than u think.I kno its exhausting tho.good 2 keep dry stuff high up on shelves! i love u

Please contine to keep everyone in your prayers. Besides the new typhoon threat there are fears the water level in Laguna de Bay will overflow and flood metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Philippine National Red Cross is now accepting overseas donations through Paypal here! I donated already & I hope others will too!



I've been able to speak to F.B. 3 times on the phone since the flooding happened in the Philippines. Today I was able to speak to him for almost half an hour. They are now back in their house. They are all staying in a room off the dining room while they clean up the rest of the house. They also have power again. My future sister in law has been able to get to computer & has updated her blog about the flooding. You can read about the aftermath here. Thank you for all your thoughts & prayers, they are greatly appreciated.

There is another typhoon approaching the Philippines that will possibly hit Saturday, so please continue to keep everyone in your thoughts & prayers, that this new storm will not cause more damage or complicate rehabilitation efforts in the areas effected by the flooding. (Update: New storm has been upgraded to super typhoon)

I will still be leaving for the Philippines November 24. And F.B. & I will still be getting married some time in December.

In other news, I finally got an evening purse for my cousins wedding & to use at my own wedding. I really love it. It is silver & beaded. It will go along with my other accessories nicely. (I got the purse here.)


Finally Got Through!

I woke up around 5am and checked my phone. F.B. finally sent me a text message!

He said: Sorry didnt txt.bad signal & no recharge.we're ok but house is nuts.flood pretty much half d house.dunno if comps ok.stayin at house nxt door.i miss u.i love u

I decided to try calling him again and it finally went through & he answered. He said they are still without power, so I didn't keep him on the phone for a long time. I heard sirens in the background. He said sometimes the water in the pipes comes on & other times it's off. They are still staying with the neighbor, He said the house is a mess. And they are still staying with the neighbors next door while they are cleaning up. The neighbors have a 3 story home. (Their home is 1 story.) He said during the flood the 1st floor of the neighbors house was completely flooded. He sounds okay, better than I expected. But I think still in shock somewhat at everything that is happening.

I know he's upset about the computer. He told me he doesn't know if it's going to work. The thing about our relationship is we rely on technology so much that when everything fails for us, we feel cut off from each other. It was so hard not hearing from him for several days because every day we are in contact somehow, email, chat, text, phone. He says he may try emailing me from an internet cafe in the mall at the end of the week. If his PC is shot, we may have to just rely on that communication for awhile until they are able to afford a new one. It won't be as nice as being able to chat with each other in real time but it's something. And I've already recharged my phone card so I can call him frequently. It was just nice to hear his voice and hear that he is okay.


Flood in Cainta Rizal Philippines (New Updates)

F.B. texted me around 8pm Sunday saying they had to stay at a neighbors house because their house is flooded. I looked up a news article online and it says Cainta Rizal is under 6ft of water! Most of Metro Manila & Rizal is flooded. Every time I try to call him I keep getting busy signal or an automated message saying the number you have dialed is either unattended or out of coverage area.... so not sure what is going on, but I'm worried and wish I'd hear from him. Please keep him & his family in your thoughts & prayers. Thanks!

9-26-09: I emailed F.B.'s father. He is a ship captain and is not in the Philippines right now. This was the information he received:

I was just on the phone with my mom and she said that everyone is ok in the neighbor's house but except for important papers and documents saved by your tita Zen, everything else is flooded. Right now the rain has abated and hopefully the waters will subside. They dont have electricity right now which could be the reason why we can't reach their phones because they did not have the means to recharge. Mom said that she cannot reach them too because of the same reason. I will give you an update as soon as I have more news.

9-27-09: Another update from F.B's Dad:

Dear Sarah,I already talked with your Tita Zen and thank God they are all ok. The water is only on the streets now and drying up. The house was submerged upto the lower half of the windows last night so everything is in shambles right now and they started cleaning up. FB says dont worry, they have not charged their cellphones until now because electricity might be out for another two days. I told them to buy a car charger so most probably FB will talk to you in his phone today.

9-28-09: Another Update from F.B.'s father:

Good morning Sarah, Yes the house was half submerged. Everything, including the refrigerator was already floating inside the house before they left to go to the neighbor. The PC and monitor and the television were all submerged. FB manage to drive "First" and "Pearl" to our friends inside the village situated on higher streets just when the water started to flow in. Of course after driving "First" he had to walk back to drive "Pearl" and on his way back he had to wade waist deep water near the house. According to Your Tita Zen the water rose so quickly that it was already neck deep in the carport when they went over the next house. We can thank God that it happened during daytime and I even dont want to think about consequences had it happened while everyone is asleep in the night. They have to buy new mattresses including a replacement for FB's bed and do a lot of laundry as everything in the closets were reached by the muddy water. Your Tita Nel's home was not flooded. Thank you for praying with me Sarah because that's all I can do right now. We are in the middle of the Atlantic on our way to Russia and we will only arrive there on Oct.8


End of Summer

I've been going to the park twice a week and walking hour/hour and a half. I've gotten some nice end of summer pictures that I wanted to share:

I use a Sony Cyber Shot DSC-W55 for all my pictures.


Cute Workout Clothes: Take 2

Well... I had to send back my 1st order because the hoodie & pants were too big. But... Old Navy didn't have the sizes I needed in stock for exchange so they issued me a refund. I went back on their website tonight and picked out a different hoodie in XS and yoga pants in S. So now I have to wait for them to arrive. They were both $15.00 like my last order. I actually like the design on this hoodie better and I like the pants better too.

Here is what I ordered:

Women's Fleece Zip Hoodies: Love

Women's Fold-Over Yoga Pants

Like I said before if you order from Old Navy, make sure you get a size down. Their clothes are cut so much larger than normal. If you are a medium you will be a small. If you're a small you'll be an extra small, etc.

On another note, my future sister in law has a blog too. You can check out her blog here!


Belated Birthday Dinner

Friday I went out for a belated birthday dinner with my cousins. We headed up to the Willow Grove mall for some shopping. I recently got a $10 gift card for doing a survey on Victoria's Secret website. And then a $25 gift card from American Express arrived in the mail which was a surprise. (Even though you have to spend $2,500 to get a $25 gift card- I think it's taken me 3 years, haha!) So I had $35 to spend! Awesome! I got 2 bra's for $12.50 each & some Strawberry & Champagne body spray. I love that scent and Pink. (Which is my signature scent.)

I was a bit annoyed they've changed their VS Cotton line though after all these years that I've been wearing them! The bras are all now lightly lined & I liked them better before without any lining at all. I just hate padded bras. Blah. The 2 I got on clearance were from the Pink line and they were more to my preference.

Also stopped at Ross so I could pick out a medium suitcase, since I'm taking 2 bags to the Philippines this time. I found a medium roll away suitcase for $34! I love Ross for getting discounted department store luggage!

We had dinner at Friday's. I had an amazing salmon & pasta dish. And I made my cousin pick out a new drink for me to try because I usually get beer, wine, margarita's or strawberry daiquiris. I tried a long island tea for the first time. Yummy! Also a thank you to my cousins for the awesome gifts. I got a cute Clinique Makeup set in a metallic pink clutch & Burt's Bees lip gloss set, etc.

Today F.B. & I were talking about staying in Makati City for a few nights again, so I looked up our beloved Best Western Astor hotel on and booked 4 nights the 1st week of January for $53 dollars a night. It was $83 a night on! I booked through Agoda last time and they are so much cheaper! Definitely recommend them!

We've stayed at the Best Western in Makati city 3 times now and we just love it. The staff is super nice too (once had to call the front desk because we had stupid neighbors blasting disco music at 4am!) and we love the breakfast buffet. And the hotel also offers a shuttle service if you don't want to commute.

It's also close to everything in the city. Green Belt, Glorietta Mall, it's not too far a drive from Mall of Asia. You can actually walk to Glorietta mall or to Green Belt from the hotel. We've done it before on the nights we couldn't use the car. (In the Philippines in the city depending on the numbers on your license plate once a week you are not allowed on the roads until after 7pm.) I wouldn't mind visiting Manila Ocean Park again too!

To read all of our Makati City trips you can click on the links below:

Makati City Trip December 2006
Makati City Trip January 2008
Makati City Trip October 2008


Photo Tutorial: Improving Your Pet Photos In 4 Steps!

I originally posted this tutorial for our members on the Rat Chatter Forums, where I am a moderator. I also wanted to share it on my blog.

Everyone can learn to improve their photos with these simple steps. All you need is a photo program like: Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Fireworks, Photoshop, etc. There are also free programs out there on the web that will allow you to edit your photos to show their best. Picasa 3 is a free photo editing program. PhotoBucket even has a buit in program for editing photos as well.

I wanted to give a short tutorial on how you can edit your pet photos in just 4 steps to make them look their best. I'll be using Photoshop 11, but you can also do these steps with other photo editing programs.

Note: To view the pictures full size in this tutorial please click on them.

Here is our straight out of camera original photo:

This photo is good, but it has a gray overcast to it and needs to be sharpened & brightened up!

Step 1: Sharpening Your Photo.

Sharpening your photo will make it clearer & crisper. (It helps to pick a photo where the subject is in focus.)

Let's sharpen our photo & compare it with the original. You can see the sharpened photo is clearer.

Step 2: Brighten & Contrast.

We need to brighten up our photo a bit & increase the contrast.

I increased the brightness to 10 & the contrast to 5 for this photo. (You can increase or decrease to your liking.)

Let's Compare:

Step 3: Color Balance

I'm going to increase the color balance towards warmer because this photo has a gray overcast look to it.

I slide the bar towards warmer to warm up the photo and get rid of the gray look. (You can increase or decrease to your liking.)

Let's Compare Again:

Step 4: Increase Saturation

The last step is increasing the saturation to give the photo more color. This tool is usually called: Hue & Saturation.

All I'm going to do is slide the saturation bar up to 8, this makes the color stronger. (You can increase or decrease to your liking.)

Let's Compare:

Now that's we've finished let's compare the original photo to the finished version:

You can see our finished photo is clearer, crisper & brighter than the original. Just 4 easy steps is all it takes to make your photos look their best!

1 more tip for getting clear photos. If your camera has a MACRO setting, it will help for taking close up clear pictures without being blurry.

I use a Sony Cyber Shot DSC-W55 for all my pictures.


Wedding News...

I've got a bunch of questions from Misguided Mommy, so I'll answer some of them heehee!

Whats up with you and FB lately you haven't updated us in ages. Gosh! Nosey people need answers! How is he? Did he end up finding a job? Have you heard about your visa? Do you know where you are going after the wedding? How is work? Gosh girl your leaving us all hanging over here!

1. F.B. is fine. We were going back & forth on each other's facebook pages today. We have been meeting for "dates" every other day online to chat. I think we spent almost 4 hours talking today.

2. We did discuss some wedding dates for December. Right now we are waiting to see when his parents will book the hotel we will have our wedding "reception" at. I believe it's just going to be a small dinner with family & friends. I do know it's going to be at a hotel in Manila. But we aren't sure which one yet. I've already invited my friend Gayle to our wedding dinner, which I'm excited about! Gayle & I met on myspace a few years ago. She is also a mutual friend with my old coworker & friend Christie. We got to meet in Makati City in January 2008.

His parents have also said they will pay for 2 nights at a hotel for our wedding night. I don't think we are really having a honeymoon, since my whole trip in the Philippines is like a vacation. I do think F.B. & I will take a day trip to the beach sometime (Maybe Cavite?) and we talked about staying a few nights up in Tagaytay again, since they've built more shopping places, restaurants since our last stay there and we could go to Enchanted Kingdom too. Plus I always love seeing Taal Volcano. We won't be staying at the same hotel we did last time though!

3. Next year I'm not going back to the Philippines. F.B. & I have already discussed this. We agreed to take a year off from traveling due to the expenses. He's going to focus on the job thing next year and take anything he can get so he can save up some money for when he moves over here. He also won't have to worry about taking time off work to be with me if I come to stay 2 months.

I'll be working here in the USA with our immigration lawyer and be able to save more money while I'm not worrying about $1,500 plane tickets and other travel expenses. Immigration may take up to 2 years. I will be going back to the Philippines for another visit in 2011. The long distance sucks... but at least we'll be working on our immigration process and closer to being with each other for good!

4. Visa question can be answered here!

5. And work question can be answered here!


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