Last night in Redmond. So happy I got to spend it with Twinkle :) We had dinner at COHO Cafe. Food was good but the best part was the great company & bonding!
The most beautiful flowers I've seen lie in Skagit Valley, Washington. A few hours drive from Seattle. Witnessing a panoramic view of the mountains, field, and colorful tulips in full bloom. Definitely the place to be for all nature lovers. Thank you Twinkle for driving me all the way to see this! Loved it.
We spotted this cute shop while walking along Pike Place. It's especially for all cheesecake lovers! It was very very good!
With my best friend's company, I was fortunate to have had the privilege to check out Pike Place Market in Seattle last April 2010! To the left is a photo of the waiting shed top. I considered the visit there perfect given the fine weather for a rainy city! Pike Place known as the Soul of Seattle was born in 1907 through the hardwork of 8 farmers. And today, the types of products and services have expanded turning Pike Place into one of the most visited destinations in Seattle.
Pike Place is a public market where folks (either farmers, wood carvers, fishermen, artists, etc) are able to showcase their creative artworks or harvests and put them up for sale! As a visitor, your first impression would be questioning what's so unique about this place? There's a lot of variety for avid shoppers from food, fruits, vegetables, amazing tulips, wine, vinegar, chocolates, you name it you got it!
I was able to purchase some vinegar which tasted like icewine. I thought it was classic! Tulips of all colors being sold felt like a garden patch to me. As for the seafood, watch how the sellers toss your selected fish into the air. Be sure you are able to catch it! I also got to taste their honey sticks. I could still remember the taste of raspberry honey! Yum! Another highlight would be the little shops around the corner. Cheesecake and cheese! Plus who could possible forget the first Starbucks ever? You'll see loads of tourists making sure they get to take their photo right in front of the original mermaid logo. Oh yes, including myself!
Market Hours!!! Pike Place and 1st Avenue level:
Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm
Monday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm
Kyoto Sushi Bar
12082 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242
To visit Keeneland was always of great interest to me especially after finding out that it's one of the finest places for thoroughbred racing within Kentucky! It was just a 2.5 hour drive from downtown Cincinnati. Apart from just being able to go through the experience, the concept of placing bets for horse racing was nothing new to me. I grew up with my grandfather raising horses to earn a living. He was telling me how he used to have nothing but his horse. This passion of his was obviously passed on to my dad and my aunts. I grew up cheering for my dad's horse on tv during the weekends. I remember visiting stables, watching my dad work on those breeding diagrams and helping him think of potential horse names. That even became an issue at some point. Some believed that naming the horses after our names might have some sort of link or an impact on us when a horse gets sick, loses the race, or dies. One of my dad's first horses was named "Real Queen" I remember cheering for this horse which won several times. It died at some point though and since then, dad never used our names anymore. :-)
I was fortunate I had friends who didn't mind checking out Keeneland. Some didn't mind going again. So Arthur, Joan, John, and I tried out our luck for the afternoon. True enough, it was one of the most beautiful race tracks I've seen. We got to witness some viewers with their fancy attire. We didn't mind the intense heat just so we got a great front view. The entire concept of trying to predict which horse will win was intriguing. There were different options (race, place, pentafecta, trifecta) which were so much more than the alternatives we have back in Manila. Being able to bet and claim the cash earnings on the same day was kinda cool! We took turns placing the group's guesses. We were able to double the amount. Too bad we didn't have time to celebrate using the winning amount but we decided to donate it for a good cause. :-)
As early as months back when the audit schedule was released I found my birthday fall on the week of field week. It brought me to some thinking state whether to actually fly off and celebrate my birthday on the plane or fly the day after my birthday. It was quite challenging since my birthday usually landed during vacation time and flying on my birthday would mean no celebrations with family and friends back home. I finally decided to fly out because I didn't want to delay any work that could be done. I looked at it in a different light.
Convincing myself to try out what it would be like to celebrate ones birthday twice given 2 time zones and across multiple parts of the globe starting off with Manila followed by Japan and then the US. Decision was made. I had a bit of regret at that point just because I realized I won't be receiving any birthday messages on my mobile because I was on air flying. I'm the type who would save them for memories. :)
Because April 9 (Friday) was a Manila Holiday, and I was set to fly off on the 11th (Sunday), Allen and I had our unexpected early birthday lunch with GIA-IDS Manila folks. I suppose Liza knew of my love for Japanese
food and so we ended up in Jipan. When we got back to the office we were busy preparing some birthday stints for Allen as he celebrates on the 10th. It was a good BEERday Surprise. While I was working, I had GIA Manila folks sing for me in advance with a super yum caramel cake having my name plus a crown on top. :)
April 9 was a holiday so I watched How to Train your Dragon (which I loved!) I had an advance birthday treat for my family at Aubergine, great French food. This was timely since I was heading for the US in the next couple of days. This was followed off with my all time favourite, Omakase on April 10. Then I had to cram with all the packing (not a personal favourite).
April 11 - Headed out of the house at 4am then off to the airport. I was at the check-in counter and found Marianne there. I could already sense that it was going to be fun with loads of people heading for Cincinnati. Jo and I were the official travel buddies for this flight.
Yes, my dear office mates wanted the best birthday on the plane adventure for me. They had all the amazing ideas. PA system singing for me. Lights out. Sitting beside the pilot. HAHAHA Amazing how these people had all the best ideas. Joan and I had great wine and food. I did a lot of sleeping. Imagine, I only got to watch one movie, Sherlock Homes since I was very much updated with the movies! I stopped over Narita then Detroit. And finally after 20++ hours on the plane, destination reached. The stewardess greeted me upon landing. I heard it was your birthday today! Happy Birthday! :) Thanks to Joan for that sudden surprise! My phone ran out of battery while on the plane. I only got 3 b-day text messages when I arrived. Thanks for all those who texted. I apologize for not having the chance to respond.
Cincinnati welcomed us with great weather and perfect blooms! When I landed it was another April 11 for me! It was my birthday once again. I reached the front desk of the Westin and the person in charge told me. You are to go to Cecilia's Room because there's a very important package. I figured that Ces wasn't in her room since no one was picking up the phone. Wonder where she was? Suddenly someone came knocking on the door - It was Ces! She was carrying 4 little bouquets of origami lilies!!! Truly one of a kind! It was touching to know how my GIA-IDS pals have been folding origami flowers as practice late at night after work! I didn't even notice! Thanks guys! Each flower was personally folded by Ces which contained letters from great people I love. I am extremely grateful guys! Thank you for taking the time to write! :) Ces was so sweet. She talked to the Westin people about wanting to go inside the room to set up the flowers on the bed. They didn't allow for privacy reasons haha! Just the thought alone was perfect.
Wells and Ces planned the best place for dinner. Prima Vista which was located in Queen's Tower! (how ironic) It had such spectacular view! Wells was so sweet he brought me Lilacs! It was lovely!
Cake from Keith
I had another celebration with Keith on April 14. I was very touched. I honestly didn’t expect this birthday to keep going day after day. He got me a really good cake! It was fun spending bonding time with fellow GIA-ers. Just sit and chat all evening. On April 15, we had another great night at Bob's place. Amy had made me ice cream cake! It was super yum. I love these guys. They made me feel at home despite how far I was from it. Before Ces left on Friday, she gave me Obama as a present. :)
I was very much overwhelmed with all the preparation done by these people. Planning began late March while I was in Guangzhou. Execution from Manila, on air, up to Cincinnati will always be a memory I'll forever cherish.
Who said a birthday on the plane was boring or corny? I thought it was going to be. But I was wrong. I had the longest birthday ever across several countries. Truly was a birthday like no other. :)
[ TRAVEL INFO ]
Primavista - Cincinnati's Premier Italian Restaurant
is located at 810 Matson Place, Cincinnati, OH 45204
"Primavista was named "Best Italian" by Cincinnati Magazine's Reader's Choice, and continues each year to win numerous public popularity categories such as "Best Dining with a View," "Best Date Spot," "Most Romantic," and many more by CityBeat and CiN Weekly."
All about the traveling Queen who wanted to share with the world the little and great discoveries that have brought her joy.