Off for the holidays!

My 1 week vacation just became a 13-day vacation. How did it happened? Well, my working days are Sundays to Wednesdays. Today was my last working day for the year!

I gave away my shift tomorrow (Dec 18, Wednesday), then I have my regular days off from Thursday to Saturday. My official vacation leave starts on Dec 22 (Sunday) and ends on Dec 29 (Saturday). And because my vacation falls on 2 holidays (Christmas and Boxing day), I got 2 extra days off which will be applied on Sunday (Dec 30th) and Monday (Dec 31st)... that's 13 days of no work!

To my co-workers, I will see you all next year (Jan 1st)!

Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

My Little Village

Finally, after years of contemplating, I decided to go ahead and purchased my first set of "Little Village." And hopefully, each year, I will buy new ones and create a bigger village.

24 more days till Christmas!!!

Our Christmas Tree

This year's motif... blue and silver... I borrowed the whole decor set from a family friend. They got 3 set of 3 different theme decors. I just can't afford to buy decors or change every year. And it was tiring to keep on looking at my red and gold decors for the past 6 years?

Less than a month to go till Christmas day... are you all ready for the birthday of Jesus?

What did you do to your face?

I can't believe what I just saw at work last week. 

A guy got tattooed all over his face and forehead, all around the neck and hands.  I guess the whole body is tattooed too.  The one on his face looks like a puzzle.  He also got cuts on both ears, 4 cuts per ear (looks likes a zigzag).   He also got 2 bumps on his forehead.   And his tongue is split in half!!!   (This I didn't see, I was too far from him, but my co-worker saw it when he talked to him).  Eeeewwww...   I can't even really looked at him as it's grosses me out.  I don't know what you would call that one.  I guess he thinks he's a serpent or something? 

And he was traveling with a girl, looks normal to me, but I guess she's not if she is with somebody that looks like him.

So stressed out!

The past few weeks has been horrible... I am so stressed out and I am feeling helpless and don't know what to do anymore! Somebody please help me!

Winter months is upon us...

This is our second heavy snowfall for this winter... it is sooooooo cooooold!!! We're expecting 10-20 cm of snow... Stay warm and dry everyone!

34 more days till Christmas... are you done with your shopping yet? I'm not!

Sighted at the airport

I admire you for wearing a brown leather pants at your age. I think you can carry it... but wearing it with a pink crocs? What were you thinking??? I wish I could have taken a picture of you.

Vote and make a difference!

This post brought to you by Aviva Community Fund. All opinions are 100% mine.

Aviva Community Fund charity is on it's phase 2.  If you don't know what it is, it is basically an annual charity funded by Aviva Insurance whose aim is to make a positive change in your local community.  

Please support the cause that is most important to you by voting!   Go to their website and browse through all the entries and make your voice count. Support your favorite entries.   Round 2 is open for voting from October 22 to November 5, you still got 9 days to make a difference in your local community!  Voting is open to all Canadian residents, all you need to do is to be registered on their website and you will be allowed to casts 15 votes per qualifying rounds.   So choose the first 15 entries that could make a significance in your community. If not for you, then maybe vote for the entries that can impact your children's future.  Spread the word to your family and friends.   The more active we are in our community, the better it is! 

I just cast my vote, and boy was it hard!  All the entries are just way too good.   Do take time to go through each and every entry.   They will all make a positive change.  

Aviva 1

Please take time to Like Aviva Community Fund on Facebook and Follow @Aviva on Twitter.  Support your local community and make a difference!  The success of this charity is in your hands.   And on it's fourth year, Aviva is helping you make a difference. 

Aviva 2


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Picture this...

A mother and daughter traveling together... daughter is wearing a micro mini dress with a run on her black panty hose... worst? I can see the lines on the panty hose that is supposed to be hidden from public view! To the mother: what the hell???

If you were my daughter, I would locked you up in your room! No way a daughter of mine will be out in the public dress like that!

Smart phone

My husband decided that it's about time that I get myself a smart phone even though I told him repeatedly that I am happy with my traditional phone.  I told him that I prefer to buy a new DSLR rather than a new cellphone.   Anyway, he still gave me one and I'm loving it! 

I am using my break time at work to come up with posts for my blogs... And I've come up with a few already. This blog really needs to be updated more frequently than it is right now.   What a great use of my break time. Don't you think? 

On another topic. Why is it so hard for some people to confirm if they can make it or not to an invitation? It doesn't take more than 30 seconds to click and type "yes" or "no"... and then send. Right? The host needs to estimate the food to serve! Please be considerate when you are invited!

Our Roman dinner experience

This dinner was really expensive but it was worth it! This is one of the optional of our European tour and we decided to join in. We had a 5-course dinner, the Roman style. Ladies got a treat from our server. We also got serenaded... It was a hefty meal, serving is okay individually, but when you combined them all, it could be too much. Yet, I manage to eat them all! It was that good! We were also serve with drink all you can red or white wine... and our table of 6 consumed 3 bottles. ",) And a bottle of champagne to end the night!

Appetizer # 1

Appetizer # 2 and 3

Main course and Dessert

Ristorante Mangrovia, Rome, Italy, July 2012

Another bear encounter

Up close with a baby black bear... If you see a bunch of cars parked along the highway, stop! You never know what you will find...

Along Columbia Icefields, Jasper National Park
August 2012

This post brought to you by Insurance Hunter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you a good, responsible driver?  Do you text or talk on the phone while driving?  How often do you violate traffic rules?  How often do you get caught and had to pay for a fine?  A co-worker of mine got fine for running 160km on a 50km national highway... and her fine is $2300 (if I am not mistaken)!   That's more than enough to pay off my one month mortgage and car payment!  Her reason for overspeeding?  She was pissed of with her travelling friend beside her. 

Starting this school year, both my kids are taking public transit to and from school, I worry about reckless drivers like my co-worker.  Many drivers put children at risk by breaking traffic laws and violating safety procedures in school zones. I hope the people would respect school zones traffic rules as there are hundreds of innocent children in the area. 

Here's a brief excerpts from Insurance Hunter’s survey on driver safety in school zones:

~  74% witness drivers over speeding on school zone

~  80% witness drivers violating safety procedures in school zone

Shocking isn't it?  Please take time to read the rest of the survey and ask yourself this: Are you one of these "irresponsible" driver?

Ontario School Zone Safety Survey also shows that three quarters of parents polled have witness drivers, young and old, to be breaking the law while in a school zone too.

Looking for an auto insurance? is a hassle-free, online comparison website for auto, home and travel insurance for residents of Ontario.  I should know because I used to get my insurance with them when we were still living in Ontario.  


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Pay off or Invest

I am so confused! I know I should know this since I have worked in a bank for 10 years. But after talking to a few people, I am more confused than ever.

Here's my question to you: Which would you do first? Pay off loan or invest? If you have an extra $$$, would you pay off your mortgage with that money? Or would you invest it in an educational plan for your kids?

Investing in an educational plan (RESP) would automatically allow my money to earn at least 20% because of the government grant. I wouldn't get this if my kids decided not to pursue college/university degree. Which means my earnings would only be about 3% as guaranteed by the company.

On the other hand, my mortgage interest rate is 3.97%. Paying off additional $$$ to my loan would mean paying off my loan a little faster, hence lesser interest.

Your inputs would be greatly appreciated. Please help!

Herbert Lake

Known as the photographer's haven... I am so glad that we stumble upon this place on our way to the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park.

Columbia Icefields, August 2012

Aviva Community Fund

This post brought to you by Aviva Community Fund. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you have an idea that could make a positive change in your community?  Now on its fourth year, Aviva Community Fund is still committed in donating $1,000,000 to best idea that can make a positive change in today's world.   First round is up and open.  There's 13 days left on round 1 to vote and submit your idea online.  Ask your family, relatives, friends, school mates, neighbors and community to vote.    Let your voice be heard.  One person can make a difference in a community, and that one person might just be you.  

Eligibility criteria are as follows: 

1.  Is it action-oriented?  It has to be something that will make your community better than it is right now. 

2. Is it well budgeted?  Aviva will fund small, medium or large ideas.  Ideas should be self-contained, without needing other pooled funds.

3. is it going to be well underway by 2013? Stand-alone projects are preferred and it has to be implemented by December 31, 2013 using $150,000 or less. 

4. Is it Canadian?  Ideas has to be implemented in the communities in Canada only.  Maybe submitted in either English or French, Canada's official languages.

This contest is open to all residents of Canada irregardless of age.  Participating kids under the age of 18 needs parents' consent/approval.  This contest is open to either individuals or groups. 

Like Aviva Community Fund on Facebook and/or Follow @Aviva on Twitter.  Share your ideas.  I'm encouraging you to check it out and submit your idea to the Aviva Community Fund charity contest.  Remember, small, medium or large ideas are accepted! 

Aviva 1 Aviva 2

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St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

After being to this place, I can now enjoy watching "Angels and Demons" and "Da Vinci Code" -- because now I can say that I've been there!

Vatican City, Italy, July 2012

On Road Trips

This post brought to you by InsuranceHunter. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you were a regular reader on my blog then you all know that my family enjoys road trips!  We did a lot of road trips during the time when we were still living in Ontario because a short drive can get us to an interesting town or beach or light house.  Whether we head out to the North, to the South, to the East or to the West, there would always be something to see. 

That's the negative side of moving to Alberta, all driving is at least 2 hours long.  And because we are surrounded by mountains, there's not much to see. 

Anyway, my auto insurance is up for renewal and I am again trying to look for a lower premium.  The renewal advise that I got from our existing insurance company has the same premium.  We didn't make any claims and yet our insurance remains the same?

So while reading through different company websites, I came across Insurance Hunter’s safety survey.  And here's part of the results --

• 64% of men have continued driving on a road trip when tired
• 24% of men said they have not paid close attention to the road because they were tired
• 17% of men said they hoped they wouldn’t get into an accident and kept driving even though they were exhausted
• 10% of men almost got into an accident because they were tired

My husband is mostly the one behind the wheel and even though I can see his eyelids closing from time to time, he won't admit that he is tired.  I have to insist on driving while he took a quick nap.  

On our recent Europeam vacation, we love just being part of a tour where we just get on and off the tour bus and not have to worry about driving.   So hassle free.   

I encourage you to read their survey results, you might be amazed at what you will discover and please visit Insurance Hunter's webpage as well.



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Gondola ride in lovely Venice, Italy

Venice is my dream city... and it was indeed the most romantic city in the world. I am so in love with this city. One day isn't enough to explore this marvelous city surrounded by water. I will definitely be going back there someday...

Our initial itinerary is that we will be in Venice on my birthday. But due to other circumstances, we had to change our itinerary and we were here 2 days before my birthday. Still, it was the best birthday gift from my hubby!

Venice, Italy, July 2012

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a city square in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium.

As soon as we got back, we watched the movie of Dan Brown, "Angels and Demons"... so interesting to see a movie where I was actually in the places shot in the movie! We also watched "Da Vinci Code"... I love the Vatican City.

She's 12 today!

It seems like it was only yesterday when she came out of my tummy... now, she's practically a lady. Happy, happy birthday to my little girl!!! We love you very much. Hope you are having a blast on your birthday in New York.

Statue of David

by the famous Italian artist, Michaelangelo (these not the 'original' sculpture though)

Florence/Firenze is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany.

Florence, Italy, July 23, 2012