My first trip back to Vancouver since moving.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Yay! I'm back in Vancouver for Christmas! It's the first time I've been back home since moving to Calgary. I miss Vancouver so much...and of course I miss my family and friends! Here are some photos from my trip. Not at lot since I was busy enjoying myself and forgetting to take photos. So happy to be back and can't wait to come back again and spend more time with all of you.

My first home!

Saturday, December 1, 2012
Justin and I bought our first home!

After 3 months of going to open houses and showings, Justin and I finally found a place we can call home!

We bought a two bedroom townhouse in the Patterson Heights area of SW Calgary. When searching for a new home, we wanted to stay in the SW quadrant of Calgary since it's close to Justin's parents and also close to the two clinics. We carpool most of the time to work, so it was best that we bought somewhere close to the offices. The complex we are in is called Indian Bluffs and it's in a nice and quiet neighbourhood that is mostly occupied by seniors from what we can tell! LOL! We are definitely one of the youngest couples in this whole complex. There's an apartment building that we know is for the 55 and older crowd. It's nice actually because you know there are no rowdies in our complex!

Our two level townhouse is set up a bit different than you might think. The lower level is the one-car garage and the second level is our living space. We technically have one bedroom and a den, but the den is easily converted into a second bedroom once we add doors and a closet. We have two full baths, but the master bath only has a soaker tub and the second bath only has a stand-up shower. We are planning to add a shower element to the soaker tub so that we can use it, because right now, neither of us have time to sit in the soaker tub and take a bath! Who has time to take baths nowadays!

But what I think was the selling point of the whole house, is the kitchen. See the photos below to get a feel of our awesome kitchen. It's where I feel comfortable to experiment on cooking! Haha! The previous owners were chefs and you could tell by how well kept and loved the kitchen was. We enjoy our kitchen a lot and tend to cook more dinners and eat in since we have such a nice kitchen to do it in.

The only furniture we have in our house right now is a borrowed dining set, a couple bar stools and our bed frame that we bought from a furniture store called Timothy Fred's for about $500. It's a king size, tufted bed frame in a grey tweed that adds lots of sophistication to our bedroom. We bought our king size mattress off Kijiji and we are using Justin's old side tables and chest of drawers from Vancouver right now until we can afford a nice bedroom set that matches our bed frame. We don't have a couch, so we never have people over because there is no where for them to sit! We are eyeing a sectional at Leon's Furniture that is named the "Danielle" sectional and waiting for it to go on sale before we take the plunge. There was also another sectional set at the Brick that caught our eye but that one was more expensive. 

We hope to one day have our house furnished enough so that we can have you guys from Vancouver come and stay over in Calgary if you ever wanted to come out this way! The second bedroom is our guest bedroom for now until we have a kid, then it'll be the babyroom! LOL! 

Anyways, you'll have to come by to check out our spot. It's small and quaint but it's all ours! We are HOME OWNERS! How crazy is that! *sigh* We are growing up fast eh?!

Wanna mail us something? Here's our address!
1904 Patterson View SW
Calgary, AB T3H 3J9

My first time staying home sick

Monday, November 19, 2012
I caught the flu bug Friday morning and it just won't leave me alone!! I had a fever of 40.1 degrees Celsius on Friday and it didn't go away till Sunday morning. I was breaking out in cold sweats and soaked through 2 pairs of pajamas. My body ached so bad that I could barely get out of bed. I haven't gotten sick like this in a long time. Usually I get the common cold/cough, but this was a full blown flu. Both Justin mom and I got it but it didn't hit her as hard. How ironic that I work at a clinic and have access to all these doctors yet I didn't bother to go see one when I was running a high fever. I guess I also should've gotten my flu shot.

Anyways, so yes, today I am home alone nursing this flu and hopefully will be back to somewhat normal by tomorrow.

It's days like this when I miss my mom and wish I could get her to FedEx a bowl of her chicken macaroni soup. Justin did take great care of me this weekend though so I shouldn't complain. But still, sometimes a girl just needs her mommy. Lol!

My first engagement! (and hopefully my last! LOL!)

Sunday, November 4, 2012
Hi Friends!

So yes, I know I am very late on this post since I've been engaged now for 3 weeks now!

Everyone must be wanting to hear about the whole proposal here it goes!

It was the week before our 4 year anniversary and we were lying in bed when Justin rolled over to tell me that since Allan was going to be in town that weekend, he arranged for Allan to take some nice photos of us as his anniversary present to me. I thought that was a GREAT idea and was happy that he would plan something like that since we don't have many nice photos of us. I immediately starting planning outfits, hair and make-up! I was totally excited.

Our anniversary is October 12 and that evening, we went out to Clive Burger for dinner. Since we were in the market for a house, we kept our celebration low key and simple. We didn't want to go out for an expensive dinner since we were on a budget. So a burger joint did the trick! After dinner, we met up with Allan for a drink. It was a great evening with good food, good drinks and we were just happy to have a friend visiting from Vancouver!

So Saturday rolls around, and mine and Justin's plan that day was to look for a good location for our photoshoot. We headed out to Prince's Island Park in downtown Calgary to scope out the location. We've been there once before for a picnic after work. It reminds me of a mini version of Stanley Park in Vancouver. After walking around the park for a while, it was time to pick Allan up from his hotel and start our photoshoot. Allan said that he was acting a bit weird because he was so nervous, but I didn't notice! Haha! We took him to Prince's Island Park and he started snapping photos right away. In my mind, I'm trying to remember every nice photo I've pinned on my Pinterest page as we strolled through the park. LOL! If you know me, you know I've pinned TONS of photo ideas already for all occasions of my life! Haha! Anyways, Justin lead us over to the Peace Bridge in the park and Allan was directing us to get the perfect pose. After a few snaps, he told me to turn around so that I'm looking over the bridge. I did so and was waiting for Justin to join me. After a few seconds and realizing that Justin was not standing beside me anymore, I turned around and found him on his KNEE!! All I could say was,
"What are you doing?! What are you doing?!"
and all I heard him saying was,
"Give me your hand! Give me your hand!"
I think he tried to say something else, but he was stumped for words and I was starting to break into ugly cry when he pulled out the ring box and fumbled to get the ring out of it. I was crying and laughing all at the same time and Allan was running around us snapping photos along the way and finally Justin asked me the question I had been waiting for and of course I said "YES!!!"

I know you've probably all seen the photos already but I'll post them here anyways, coz Allan did such a great job on them! The photos make it look so romantic and perfect, but if you heard the whole conversation as I've mentioned above, it's actually more comical than romantic! LOL!

Anyways, sorry for taking so long to get this post up! Hope you enjoyed! And to those who left a Facebook message or video on the group page that Justin set up, thank you sooooo much! Those messages were awesome and made me super happy!

Now, who's going to help me plan this wedding! LOL!

My first month in Calgary

Saturday, October 6, 2012
Yesterday was the mark of my first month in Calgary. It feels like I've been here much longer than that though. I must say that I've done quite a bit in my first month here, from shooting guns, riding ATVs and house-hunting!

Work has been going good so far. I work with 10 doctors, Justin's mom who is the manager/owner, 3 MOAs (who assistant the Drs) and 1 receptionist (I usually have 2 but one quit on me! she was shitty anyways, LOL!). Everyone's starting to get used to me in the office now and most of them have been helpful in teaching me how the office runs. I've been working front desk for the most part since we are short on receptionists but I'm also doing lots of office management duties when the phone is not ringing off the hook and the patients are not pouring in. This medical office is super busy with 6 doctors on Mon-Fri and most of the them are fully booked. Free health care in Alberta makes people come in to see the doctor at any little problem I guess. I'm trying my best to build relationships with the doctors and the staff so that I know how each person works and what makes them tick so that I can manage and service them better. The patients are hit and miss. some are super duper nice, and some are just plain nasty.

House-hunting has been really fun also. Our realtor is a friend of Justin's mom and step dad and of course, he's Filipino. His name is Edmar Calma and he's done a good job finding us places that suit our needs/wants. I've fallen in love with 2-3 places, and we actually made an offer on one of them last night! Here's the MLS #s for the one that we offered on: C3539427. The offer is still standing as I type this. Since it's Thanksgiving weekend and all, I'm not sure when we will hear back from the sellers. Hopefully soon as it's agonizing waiting for their reply to see if they accept or counter. We are looking for townhouses within 5-10 min drive from the clinic that I work at since Justin's now my full time chauffeur and drives me to work and also picks me up! It's a nice change! For those who know Calgary, we are looking in these areas: Glamorgan, Springbank, MardaLoop, Christie Park, Aspen, Patterson Heights, etc...pretty much anywhere that is no more than 15-20mins drive to downtown/17th Ave/Kensington areas so that Justin and I can still have a social life...we were originally looking in super suburban areas (Tuscany, Royal Oak, Rocky Ridge) where it's all houses and parks and schools, but I couldn't picture ourselves settling down like that right away, so we decided that we'd go for something smaller like a townhouse and live closer to the city.

Since being here, I've experience beautiful sunshine and summer weather up until Oct 3, 2012 when it actually snowed. I went from 25 degree weather the day before, to snow the next morning. It was like summer ended abruptly and winter arrived in style. Where did fall GO?! There's no inbetween here in Alberta I guess. Here's a photo of Justin and I picnicing just a day before the snow came.

I am a fan of fall/winter fashion so I was happy to pull out my jackets and boots. Now I just need to find all my scarves! I gotta learn how to crochet and Justin's mom said she would teach me. So the next time there's a crochet party (Victoria, Jess, Natalia and MJ), hopefully I'll be able to Skype in and join you girls. Here's a photo of the snow from Oct 3. It all washed away by afternoon, but still...LOL!

Life in Calgary otherwise has been something that I'm still getting used to. Living with Justin and his parents is nice, but I'm not 100% comfortable yet. If you know me, you know that I love different kinds of food, but Justin's parents eat quite simply. Rice and meat and they are happy. Whereas in my parents house, there's always a variety of dishes such as a meat dish, a veggie dish, a seafood dish and a soup to go with your rice. Or else, it's a hearty bowl of noodle soup and you all know I'm a lover of noodle soup. I definitely miss my mommy's cooking. I want to experiment with cooking, but I think I will wait till Justin and I get our own place with our own kitchen, because it's weird cooking in someone else's kitchen.  So for now, I'm just going with the flow, but seriously once we get our own place, I will be using all my Pinterest recipes and trying them out and actually learning how to cook!

I really miss my family. There's been a few times where I find myself crying myself to sleep, or crying in the shower or tearing up after I end a Skype conversation with them. Justin's been great dealing with me when I'm feeling low. He's reassuring that we've made the best decision and that we'll see my family soon. Thank God for Skype though because how did people use to keep in touch before. At least Ethan and Izzy still get to see me and not forget my face. Ethan enjoys Skype-ing. He thinks it's funny seeing me on the screen.

Of course, I also miss my friends. So far I've had Skype dates with Marie and Celine. Hanging up after both conversations also caused me to be sad because I miss spending time with friends. I haven't made friends here in Calgary yet. We haven't had the chance to hang out with people our age here except for Justin's cousin. To be honest, Justin and I haven't had much of a social life yet. Thank goodness we love each other and love to spend weekends together us just, but I think we need to venture out now and try to make plans with his cousin and his friends so that we at least get to chat with other people other than just us. The girls at work at all Filipino, which is not a problem for me, but they are not really the kind of people I would hang out with. They are pretty FOB-y and they speak to each other in their language all the time, so it's hard to get to know them. There are a couple of female doctors that are just a couple years older than me that I think I could be friends with, so I might try to go that route. Weird to hang out with co-workers and all, especially when they are DOCTORS, but hey, I'm a professional too I guess right!? Just with much less post secondary education, but who cares, I'm still successful now aren't I! LOL!

Anyways, cheers to my first month here! I celebrated yesterday with a couple glasses of wine. And since it's Thanksgiving long weekend, I will list a few things I'm thankful for:
  1. Justin - because he loves me and is doing his best to make sure that I'm happy and comfortable in Calgary. and also for always making me laugh when I desperately need it.
  2. Justin's parents - because they are allowing us to stay rent free in their home for as long as we need and also giving us a great opportunity to learn how to run their businesses
  3. My family - for allowing me to call them on Skype as often as I need so that I am not home sick. And for also being encouraging about my new life in Calgary and for being supportive. Also for taking good care of my dog, Brooklyn. Mommy misses you! and we will be reunited soon! *tear*
  4. My friends - for still including me in all Whatsapp conversations so it doesn't feel like I've left. I'm still in the know of what's going on at home for the most part. But can't wait to reconnect with all of you via Skype so that I can get the full scoop!
Happy Thanksgiving family and friends. I miss all of you dearly...

My first time at a fancy dinner fundraiser!

Friday, September 14, 2012
It was mine and Justin's first time at a fancy dinner fundraiser in honor of my brother-in-law Alex Chen. Alex is competing in the 2013 Bocuse D'or and Bocuse D'or Canada committee was holding a fundraiser for him in order to raise money for everything he needs to do well at the competition.

It was held at the beautiful Fairmont Palliser Hotel in downtown Calgary and we were lucky enough to get FREE tickets to this event. Tickets are about $150 regular price. It pays to be related to the guest of honor! LOL!

16 restaurants from all over Calgary participated in this event. Each restaurant had their own station set up and you can sample their signature dish that they prepared for that event and decide if you liked them enough to go and visit them at the restaurant to try out the rest of their menu. Here are some shots of the dishes Justin and I got to sample. I didn't get a photo of all of the 8th dish, I started to lose count and forgot to take photos! Haha! I was too busy eating and enjoying by that point.
Top Left: The Petroleum Club: Smoked BC Octapus with Fresh Papaya Noodle Box; Top Right: Catch Restaurant and Oyster Bar: Wild BC Albacore Tuna Caparccio; Bottom Left: Il Sogno: Cannellini Bean Salad with Marinated Octapus; Bottom Right: Hotel Arts: Dungeness Crab Salad with Compressed Honeydew and Crispy Prosciutto
Top Left: Bavarian Inn: Pork Tenderloin with Bacon Bread Dumpling; Top Right: Don't remember what restaurant it was and it's not on the program, but it was steak; Bottom Left: Rush Restaurant: Peaches and Cream Foie Gras Torchon; Bottom Right: The Ranchmen's Club: Whole Roasted Leg of Lamb

with the Guest of Honor, Alex and his Bocuse D'or coach and good friend, Chef Dan Olson
Super awkward, sitting at a table where we didn't know anybody...

There were also a couple dessert stations and a cheese station, but by then, Justin and I were too full to even think about dessert! We just sat back and enjoyed lots of wine =)

In another section of the hotel, there were tons of items on silent auction and they also had an auction for other things such as a trip to a vineyard in California or an experience to have Alex and 2 other well-known chefs come to your house and cook for you and your party! All in all, the event raised about $55,000, and that was only for the Calgary event! There will be 3 other events like this one held in Edmonton, Toronto and of course, Vancouver! Hopefully these other fundraisers will be just as successful as the Calgary one. With all this money raised, Alex and his team can afford to buy the equipment he needs to best prepare for the competition. If you'd like to support Alex and attend the Vancouver event, please check out their Facebook event page for ticket info and event details.

It was a great experience and I can't wait to go to Lyon, France in January 2013 to cheer Alex on! We are all behind you ALEX! Hope your practicing is going well and stay FOCUSED! We are looking forward to watching you compete at the Bocuse D'or! We are so proud of you =) Lots of love!

My first time shooting a gun

Sunday, September 9, 2012
On Justin's uncle's lakeside property in Eckville, AB, not only were we able to ride around on the ATV (see previous post), but we were also able to shoot a gun! This was my first time shooting a gun in my LIFE! I can't remember what kind of gun it was (9mm hand gun perhaps?!) but boy, was it scary holding that much POWER in your hands. I could've taken someone's LIFE with that thing! I was hesitant to shoot it at first, but after much coaxing and convincing from Justin and his cousins, and a mini tutorial on how to use a gun from Justin's uncle, I actually took a shot! Here is a photo and a video of me shooting the gun. I've also attached a photo of Justin shooting and of course, he's like a PRO!

According to Justin, the next time we are up at his uncle's lakeside resort, he'll probably have other guns for us to shoot around (yes, he's got more than just one gun...he's got like 4-5 I believe!). Let's see if I have a better shot next time. LOL!

My first time on an ATV

Today, Justin and I along with his parents, aunt and uncle and cousins all went up to Eckville, AB to spend some family time on his uncle's lakeside property. They are building an RV and Camp site on this piece of land that is supposed to be the size of Stanley Park! Crazy right?! This property used to host girl/boy scout groups for camps and retreats.

On their property, they had an ATV. Justin and his cousins were all taking a turn to whip it around the area. It was my first time on an ATV with Justin. We've been snowmobiling before so it's quite similar. Justin always thought it was romantic for a girl to be on the back of an ATV or motorcycle, holding onto a guy's waist. LOL! I thought it was pretty awesome as well. That thing is so much fun! I didn't drive it coz I'm chicken, but Justin was more than happy to have me ride on the back and hold onto him. =)

Here are some shots from the day. The views were spectacular as you can tell from the photos.

That's a photo of Justin's youngest cousin Nick and sitting in front is his cousin Mark who is also from Vancouver, living in Calgary.

And here's a little video blog (or VLOG as Youtubers like to call them) as we ripped around on the ATV. We were on a hill that overlooked the lake and the land that Justin's uncle's property was on. Yes, all the land on the LEFT side of the lake belongs to his uncle. I'm not kidding!!!

My first time house hunting and karaoke-ing with Justin

Saturday, September 8, 2012
Today, Justin and I actually had an appointment with a realtor in Calgary to take a look at some properties. We saw about 5 listings ranging between townhouses and single family homes. Our budget is $300K-$350K, but of course, we are trying to stay within the lower end of that spectrum.

There were 2 houses that stood out to Justin and I. One was a foreclosure home, listed at $376,600 and another was a single family home listed at $369,900.

The foreclosure home (MLS # 3535169), located in the NW quadrant of Calgary, was about 1600+ sq ft and had 3 good sized bedrooms, bonus room (kinda like a family/TV room) and a finished basement. It also had a newly renovated kitchen and big backyard. It was kind of a mess though because the previous tenants just left it in a chaotic state. But looking through all the mess and dirt, this property had a lot of potential. With a new coat of paint, new appliances and new carpet, it could really be a great starter home for Justin and I. And because it's a foreclosure, that means the bank owns the home, therefore, we can offer about 15% less than the listed price and probably get the property. The realtor said that we'd probably be able to get the property at around $330K which is a steal for a 3 bedroom single family home in that area.

The second home (MLS # C3538069), also located in the NW region of Calgary called Tuscany, was a beautifully decorated and furnished single family home. It was much smaller at 1050 sq ft and also had 3 bedrooms but they were much smaller. The thing that stood out about this house was the amazing deck, backyard and spacious 2 car garage! Also, the previous owners took great care of the place and everything was fully updated. The only thing is the price of this place is not as negotiable as the foreclosure home. Listed at $369,900, it was already well above our budget and it probably won't sell less than $350K.

After a couple hours of checking out houses, my brain was totally fried. I don't know how people do this! House hunting is so stressful. By the end of the tours, I was mixing up all the features of each house with one another. I couldn't remember which house had an ensuite and which one didn't, or which one had the finished basement, etc...

But I have to say...being able to experience this with Justin is so awesome! In each house, I try to envision how we would spend our lives in there! I think about what room we'd use to convert into our huge-ass closet to hold all our clothes and shoes, or which one would maybe be the nursery!?! LOL! J/K...well actually, not really...haha but no I'm NOT pregnant! So even though it's quite nerve-wrecking and stressful, it is pretty damn fun!

After a day of house hunting, Justin, his family and I went to his cousin's place for dinner and karaoke! It was the first time we've ever "sang" together. And for those who are interested and care, the song we choice to be our first karaoke song was "Maneater" by Hall and Oates.

Anyways, I'm sure I'll be keeping you all posted if we do put a bid on any of these places! Exciting huh!? I promise that we'll have enough room so that our friends from Vancouver and come visit! Yay! Guests!

Till next time...miss all of you!

My first 10 hour road trip to Calgary

Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Justin and I took off for Calgary on Monday, September 3, 2012 on our first 10 hour road trip together. We didn't do the full 10 hours in one. Instead we had an overnight pit stop in Revelstoke, BC and stayed at a cute little bed and breakfast spot called the Powder Pillow.

The whole drive all the way to Calgary was beautiful. The mountains are gorgeous especially when it's a perfect, sunny September day. I'm so grateful for a problem-free drive. Justin did all of the driving. He's a happy driver when he's got his iPod plugged in and he can sing along to all his songs. I definitely got a little Justin Torio (or should I say, Justin Lumbercreek - his singer alias) concert in the car! It was awesome!
here's a little sample of my exclusive Justin Lumbercreek concert:

We arrived in Calgary around 4:30pm and unloaded all my belongings. I still can't believe that I managed to fit as much as I did in my trunk! My little Nissan Versa is awesome. I was able to fit so many boxes and bags of clothes and shoes and it survived all 10 hours of the drive without a hitch! I really love my car.

Anyways, that's about it for my first ever 10 hour road trip. All in all, a very successful drive. We arrived at our destination safe and sound and Justin and I got along just fine! LOL! 

Thanks to all our friends who wished us a safe ride. Your positive thoughts definitely got us here safely. We miss all of you very much!