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Jan 1, 2014

Best in 2013

Okay folks, 2013 wasn’t the best year for Pretty Tasty Things. I wasn’t updating it on a regular basis. I was slacking, busy, tired, whatever you want to call it. I just wasn’t on top of it. So, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to post more in 2014 starting today. As you may know, my “Best in” is one of my favorite posts to do. I get a chance to look through all my photos I’ve taken with my SLR, G10 and iPhone (too many cameras!) and remember some of the best moments of my life. I’ve done it for the past two years, Best in 2011 and Best in 2012. 2013 blessed us with trips to NYC, Corolla Beach and Boston, my 30th birthday in which I celebrated 80’s style, and lots of laughs with family and friends. So, in no particular order, here are my favorite moments in 2013:

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Feb 7, 2013

Fiddle-leaf fig tree love

I have been in love with the Fiddle-Leaf Fig tree (aka Ficus Lyrata) since I first laid eyes on it through Pinterest. They are certainly one of the most beautiful and most dramatic plants I’ve ever seen. This tree is an indoor plant that resembles sculptural works of art. They bring life into a room with it’s large and shiny green fig leaves and over-sized structure. With some research I’ve learned that Fiddle-Leaf Figs are easy to care (my kind of plant!), loves the sun (our living room is the perfect spot) and requires minimal watering (good, because I tend to forget). These three aspects made me realize that even with my lack of a green thumb, I couldn’t screw this one up (right?)

Well, considering I don’t have much experience in plants, I didn’t want to take the chance of purchasing a mature Fiddle-Leaf Fig and having it die on me. I would have wasted over $100. So, I purchased a starter tree for a mere $14 ($7 for plant and $7 shipping). Lets take a look at my little starter:

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Standing at nearly 10 inches tall, this starter arrived in the mail nicely packed. It was nestled in peanuts and was seating on a disposable warming pad since it was traveling through cold climate. The leaves were bright, everything was intact. Overall, it was definitely shipped with care.

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“Can grow 15-30′” WHAT? Seriously? I bought a indoor plant that can potentially grow up to 15 feet?! Oh s***.

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Just so you know, this plant is poisonous. Most ficus plants are apparently. I honestly did not realize this before placing my order. So, you probably don’t want it near any dogs that enjoy eating leaves and such, and that’s why I’ve placed my plant on the second shelf in the living room. For now, it’ll just live there until I figure something out. It gets some sun from the nearby window. So far, the tree has been doing quite well.

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If I take care of this starter, I hope that after some time this little guy will grow into something like this that I found on Making It Lovely blog:

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I just worry about the climate here in Virginia since these plants like their sun. But I’m taking a chance and if my little starter doesn’t do so good, oh well. I’ve only wasted $14. Here are a few more inspiring photos of what I hope my tree will become. Thanks, Pinterest!

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I’ll certainly keep you posted on how my fiddle-leaf fig tree is doing! I’ve been advised to leave it alone during these winter months and when it gets warmer, to re-pot. If you have any suggestions/advice on how to take care of these kinds of plants, please leave me some love!

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Jan 3, 2013

Best in 2012

If you recall, last year I wrote “Best in 2011” and it was by far one of my favorite posts. I took over thousands of photos in the past year and going through all of them just reminded me of all the fun times that were had. That’s why I take photos. I love capturing each little or big moment so down the road when I’m old and forgetful, I have my photos to bring a smile to my face. This year has been crazy, crazy awesome, so I hope you enjoy these images. But more importantly, I want to wish you a new year of some beautiful and memorable moments for yourself.

Without further adieu (and in no particular order) here are my favorite moments:

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Jul 9, 2012

Kiernan’s Baptism Filipino Feast

On Sunday, July 1, our nephew Kiernan was baptized at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Service began right at 11 a.m. and the baptisms coincided with regular Mass. There were about 10 babies getting baptized that morning. Call me biased, but I think Kiernan was the cutest! LOL. He was such a good boy throughout the whole thing. He didn’t cry or fidget at all. Not even when it was time for photos after the hour-long service had ended. Kiernan was happy as a clam and cute as can be. Just look at him! It was truly a wonderful day for the Donahue and Ramos families.

We went back to the house and my parents started cooking up a huge Filipino feast for lunch. They had brought all the ingredients from home, already prepped and ready to go. It was pretty smart of them to prepare everything the day since there was only a short window between Mass and lunch time. They cooked four dishes enough to feed about 10-15 people. Just look at that plate of food and tell me that doesn’t make your mouth drool. I got a little bit of everything — Pancit, Beef and Broccoli, Lumpia and Breaded Shrimp. I think the whole family went back for seconds. I just love it when my parents cook!

My parents were the chefs in the kitchen. My dad was the executive chef, while my mom was the prep cook. LOL. I learned to love cooking from my dad. He and I would watch on PBS, Yan Can Cook, together waayyyy back in the day. If only I can cook Filipino food just as awesome as he can.

So the first thing on the menu is a staple in any Filipino household. Can’t have a Filipino party without the best lumpia in the world. My mom prepared these a few weeks ago and froze them. All she had to do was fry them up in batches that afternoon. Believe me when I say this plate of food was the first one to go.

My dad made breaded shrimp coated in a pre-made packaged frying mix and Panko bread crumbs. He prepped them that morning before church and my mom fried them similarly to the lumpia. Both the lumpia and shrimp were gone within minutes.

We served a sweet chili sauce and dark soy sauce as condiments to the lumpia and shrimp.

My dad made two main courses. On the left is a traditional Filipino noodle dish called Pancit. It’s made with very thin noodles and incorporates veggies, chicken and shrimp. On the right is my dad’s version of beef and broccoli. Oh good Lord. This may be better than any Chinese restaurant version. My dad has made both dishes a million times, but I never know how he actually cooks them. All the recipes come straight from his head so it’s hard for me to figure out how to cook them since they usually require lots of ingredients and lots of steps. I need him to write all his recipes down for me!

And for dessert, my sister ordered a yellow cake with white frosting from Kroger. It was actually pretty good for a grocery-bought cake.

And here are the chefs! Thanks again to my parents for making an incredible Filipino feast! Now, I expect this when I come home next :)

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Mar 14, 2012

Landscaping woes

If there’s one thing I am not a fan of, it’s probably gardening/mowing/landscaping. All of the above. I can handle a small herb garden, but nothing more. Haha. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t grow up gardening. I never even touched a lawnmower until I was 28 and owned my first home. It’s just something I don’t really enjoy doing. I’d rather sit in my back porch and bask in the sun while enjoying a cool cocktail.

So, here’s our dilemma. The landscaping of our house is crap. Yes, crap. Weeds are growing in cracks. The boxwood scrubs are not growing in the front of the house. There are random plants that don’t match with anything. As you can see, our house is lacking in curb appeal. I wish I had money just to hire someone to make our outside look pretty. If only it was that easy, right? Since we don’t have money to hire a contractor, we went to Southern States this past Monday and started thinking about some inexpensive options.

At the beginning of our walkway, we have little cutouts on each side where plants and/or flowers can be planted. Whoever owned our house before, apparently didn’t care about gardening either. I mean seriously, there are FOUR different plants in one small area. Less is more people! Do you have any ideas on what would look good here?

As you walk towards the house, the scrubs are just pitiful. They make me want to cry. We’ve been here for a year, and the shrubs haven’t grown an inch. While at Southern States, we learned that the shrubs are called “Boxwood.” They may not like the sun and could take 3 years to grow bigger, if the right type was planted. Well, this is the one thing we want to change first. We spoke to a gardener and she gave us some tips on some shrubs.

Nothing looks uniform. There’s no height or color to any of these shrubs. We would like to cover the drain eventually with something. I just think all these plants need to be replaced!

So after some advice from Southern States and a little research, there are two types of shrubs we are leaning towards. There are a couple of factors in deciding these two shrubs — the sun and the height. I love this first choice, the Otto Luyken Laurels. I found some photos online and love the leaves on this shrub. They have white flowers that bloom in the Spring. Apparently, this is a low-maintenance shrub, perfect for this girl.

The other shrub we might be interested in is more common and more affordable, the Compacta Holly. They start off small, but grow much larger. They’re fantastic in the sun and will need to be trimmed to the shape you desire. Figured these would be nice because they’re uniform and pretty sturdy.

Anyways, these are our two options so far. Do you have any advice on shrubs? I would love some advice on which shrub to choose between. Maybe there’s a different shrub that would work with lots of sun. Please share some advice with me because like I said, I am pretty stupid at gardening!

 

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