Friday, July 30, 2010

My Blueberry-licious Experience in Akersjon, Sweden!!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

I still remember three years ago today, I was in Akersjön, Sweden - the so called "last wilderness in Europe". It was mid - summer towards autum so I experienced a great natural surroundings with blaze of wild flowers, crisp air, beautiful hills and an abundance of my favorite wild blueberries - the berries that are literally bursting with nutrients and flavor, but I haven't seen or touched fresh!

Blueberries are flowering plants usually small, close to the ground and hang on bushes in little bunches.In Sweden, wild blueberries are at their best from May through October when they are in season. So I wasted no time to experience the fun way to get blueberries - picking them myself!


I would like to share with you the step-by-step things I did to have this unique experience of picking blueberries for the first time and getting the best berries for my work!

First.Pick A Good Bush. My friend Beth and her husband Roland Ulander, own a mountain house in Ackersjon and the place is such a natural beauty. There are good bushes just a few meters away from the mountain house and you can choose to pick berries anywhere you like since it is free. A good bush will have many good berries according to Roland.

Second.Know What To Look For as Good Blueberries. A good berry is round, bluish, and with unblemished skin. I was told that the general rule when it comes to blueberries is "the bigger, the sweeter". Also,once picked blueberries won't sweeten any further.

Third.Be Equipped. Since blueberries are small and attached to the stem, it makes blueberry picking much faster if you comb the blueberry bush with a hand rake. Well, if you don't have a hand rake,don't fret! You can try cupping your hand around the blueberries. Then find something to hold your berries - a bucket, a plastic bag, a basket, or some other kind of container.

Fourth. Find A Good Time To Do The Picking and With Whom. Since we are picking blueberries in a wilderness area in the summer, we chose a time that is not too hot and kept an eye out for bears. Also we chose the spot where a group of people go as well.

Fifth. Enjoy the Experience. Find a good berries, and then pick them - use your fingers as a rake and put the blueberry in the bucket or eat it. In times I were tempted to eat every blueberry I see, I followed the rule "one for me, two for the bucket".

Sixth.Continue Picking Until You Are Satisfied. I had a wonderful experience.I just picked and picked until I have gotten most of the good berries off the bush.
Seventh.Refrigerate,Don't Wash. As soon as you're done picking, refrigerate the blueberries if you want to eat them fresh. Do cover them while they are refrigerated. Once chilled, they can last for 10 to 14 days. Wash just before serving or eating.

In Sweden,they usually make blueberry jelly and syrup as soon as they picked the berries.The syrup is always served on an ice cream for snacking in the summer afternoons! CRAVE!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Green Journey!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


Lately I could hardly escaped the Green concept! It amazes me that every single thing I do every day has an impact on the planet -- good or bad. So if I choose to create a good global impact,then I have to choose to go Green on what I buy, or eat, or even to how I vacation and where I travel.


I checked some ideas on the internet for green vacations (http://gogreentravelgreen.com) and I feel glad to realize that I have journeyed in a green way!

1. Leave-No-Trace Camping. It’s fun by yourself or with friends and family. Be sure to stay on trails and in designated camp sites. Look for signs and obey rules and regulations the camp area has.


Our family camped at Paradise Ranch on the occasion of our Family reunion and all the kids and adults were taught how to live in tents (and bahay kubo), no electricity,eat organic food and leave the camping site clean and orderly.




2. Renting A Small RV. Renting an RV and driving across the country makes for a great green vacation. While RVs may get terrible gas mileage, your vacation will make up for this because you’re not flying nor are you using resources such as electricity at a hotel.


When we traveled to Norway from Sweden last August 2007,we used my friends RV trailer.It has everything we need saving us on hotel and its resources.





3. Read and Relax Vacation. Go somewhere closer to home (via car, train, or bus) and spend your entire trip reading and relaxing. Not only is this rejuvenating but it has a low impact on the environment.


My family traveled to a nearby park on a family van big enough to have everyone. On our way to the park,we played travel bingo where they have to mark each item like road signs,traffic light,etc. they see along the road.The kids learn while staying green.





4. Visit State and National Parks. There are state/national parks across the world. Visit them to support their conservation efforts.


In many countries I visited, I made it a point to visit their national parks and learn of their conservation efforts.





5. Visit Family and Friends. When you visit family and friends on vacation you’re sharing resources and thus more likely to be green. Plus, you’ll get the insider’s scoop on the destination you’re visiting.


On my vacation plans I always choose the place where I have a family or friend whom I could stay at. Their inputs on where to go helps lessen my expense and share resources.





6. Train to Anywhere. Taking an overnight train is an incredible experience and it makes for a very green vacation.


My prince and I chose to take the overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing the night of December 31, 2007 and was in Beijing on New Year's Day!It was my first train ride and really enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Vanity License Plate

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



I have been thinking of getting a vanity plate or personalized plate for sometime now. I don't know much about it except that it would cost me extra money to have my own choice of numbers or letters on the motor vehicle plate. So when I bought a new 2010 Isuzu Sportivo I told the agent, I want MAP 888 stands for either Mark Allan Poff or Mhe-Anne's Prince or MAM 757 which stands for Mhe-anne And Mark or vice - versa and July 5,2007)our anniversary date as my plate number. None of these plates are available though. What is available is MAO 888 (the initial of my name Mary Ann Ojeda)and it would cost me P19,000. I feel that it is not worth paying that much for the plate, so I told her I would settle for a regular plate as long as the ending is 8 (because the number is lucky according to the Chinese and the coding day is a Thursday). I got PQI 368. I thought for awhile what could this plate stands for -something personal. The closest I could get is that it is the name for the new USB drive PQI CoolDrive U368. Cool I said. But what does it have to do with me? Then I stumbled upon the Philippines'Vanity License Plate program which was implemented last October 2008. Under the said program, Vanity Plate shall only be issued to the motor vehicle owner and assigned to a registered owner if such motor vehicle have been issued a regular license plate. The physical service life of the vanity plate shall be within a period of five (5) years. After which, the plate owner shall request for re- issuance of new plate bearing the same alphanumeric combination upon payment of re-issuance fee.

What are the Vanity Plates Categories?

LIMITED EDITION

consists of four (4) or maximum of six (6) characters, either all numeric or all alphas. Example: 999999 AAAAA WWWWWW 8888. Can be purchased through public aution with a floor price of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 50,000.00).

PREMIUM EDITION

consists of six (6) characters, a combination of numeric-alpha (reverse of the current license plate number).Example: 555 MCM 888 ARL 168 FFF. The price is Fifteen Thousand Pesos (Php 15,000.00).

SELECT EDITION

consists of minimum of three (3) or maximum of six (6) characters. Example: GANDA MACHO JST4U 14344 WINNER. The price is Ten Thousand Pesos (Php 10,000.00).

So it is not too late after all to get a vanity plate even though I was already issued a regular plate for my new vehicle. In fact, only vehicles which were issued a regular plate can avail of a vanity plate. I will definitely apply for my Vanity Plate either Premium Edition - 757 MAP or 888 MAP or Select Edition - MPRINCE or PRINCEM.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Flu, Pistachio Ice Cream and Movie Marathon!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

What does flu, pistachio ice cream and movie marathon have in common? Yes! Me, me-sick,me-time this week. Influenza or simply called flu hits me. It's an infection that gives me fever, chills, cough, body aches, and dizzy spell (not really headaches). It is a drag and makes me not apt to go out to work following my usual schedule, but I am not really sick so as to be bedridden. So I thought I would use the time at home to do some work on the net (to keep me productive) while doing a lot of fun things I do not usually have time to do - watch movies!

With all the time on my hand, I got into a real movie marathon. True to the word marathon, I watched three to four movies in a row, leaving only a few minutes for restroom breaks. The four movies are either part of a sequel or revolves on a common theme. Everyone was gone so I comfortably sat myself in the living room, with no one but the tv and a gallon of pistachio ice cream!

Pistachios are my favorite nuts,and with Selecta coming out with the limited edition of pistachio and cashew ice cream flavor, I can't let it pass. So I make sure I have a gallon per day of Pistachio ice cream while it is still available. Pistachios are more than just delicious, they’re also seriously nutritious, so snacking on it while having a flu is good and keep me on the road to good health. It is a hearty nut too just like the movies which are all for the heart - love themes!

Monday was the Twilight series. I am not a fan of the movie and the book, so I have not jumped on the bandwagon until I watched "Eclipse"last Saturday as a birthday gift for my friend Tess. I kinda like the movie so I thought of watching the first sequel Twilight and the New Moon on DVD. It has another DVD entirely on the sneak preview and special features about the film so I got hooked.

Tuesday is an unusual dating and engagement love story movie themes:

1) The Proposal
It is a romantic comedy film starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is a workaholic, tyrannical book editor who suddenly finds her career in jeopardy as she faces deportation back to Canada. Her solution is to simply fake an engagement to her unsuspecting assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), who in turn blackmails her for a promotion. However, when Margaret is forced to head to Alaska with Andrew to visit his family in an effort to make their story believable to the deportation officers, they soon realize that their plan may not be so simple after all.


(2)50 First Dates
-Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) lives an enviable life in a Hawaiian paradise, spending every night with a beautiful tourist in search of an island fling. It is a sweet life with no strings attached, until he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore). He and Lucy hit it off from the get go, but the next day she acts like she does not know him. Has his karma come around to kick him in the butt or what? Actually, Lucy has short-term memory loss, so every night all memory of her day is erased. But a man in love will go to any lengths to win over the girl of his dreams, and if that means having to find imaginative ways of doing it over again every day, then Henrys up for the challenge.


(3)Miss You Like Crazy,(tagalog movie)
-John Lloyd plays the character of Alan Alvarez, a young urban professional who, despite coming from a middle class family, is a mainstay in the high society scene, courtesy of his girlfriend played by Maricar Reyes. Bea, on the other hand, plays the character of Mia Samonte, a typical young breadwinner who decided to work abroad to support her family. Bea’s unusual habit of writing on stones to express her feelings plays an instrumental part in making Alan and Mia’s paths meet.Time is meaningless when you are in love is the wisdom of this movie
.

(4) Love Happens
-Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart star in this romantic drama. When self-help author Dr. Burke Ryan (Eckhart) arrives in Seattle to teach a sold-out seminar, he unexpectedly meets florist Eloise Chandler (Aniston), the one person who might be able to help him help himself. But will two people who may have met the right person at exactly the wrong time be able to give love a chance? If they can, they’ll find that sometimes, when you least expect it…love happens.


Wednesday is action movies of my favorite actors -Tom Cruise and John Travolta which I missed on the big screen: (1) Valkyrie, and (2) From Paris With Love.

Thursday is Wedding Movies - movies with wedding as part of the story line:

(1) When I Met You (tagalog movie starring KC Concepcion and Richard Gutierrez)
-Jenny, a mall promdizer,hitches a ride on a seaplane with struggling pilot Benjie, to attend a wedding in Palawan. On the way to the wedding, Benjie and Jenny find themselves not getting along. But when the aircraft crashes in an isolated island, the two are forced to deal with each other. They become friends and their friendship deepens despite their romantic trappings, the two are confronted with their growing love for each other.


(2)Made of Honor
-Tom (Patrick Dempsey)loves his life, until he realizes he also loves his best friend Hannah.But when Hannah gets engaged to a dashing Scotsman and asks Tom to be her maid of honor,Tom faces hostile bridesmaids,bridal showers,and bad hair days,all in an effort to pull off the perfect wedding and steal the bride.He's a maid of honor with a plan.


(3) When In Rome
-When Beth,an unlucky-in-love New York curator (Kristen Bell),takes a whirlwind trip to Rome for her sister's wedding, an unexpected crush takes her by surprise. Quickly let down she defiantly plucks coins from the Fontana de Amore,magically igniting the passions of some comically unsuitable suitors. As a charming reporter 9josh Duhamel) becomes zeaously smitten,Beth is skeptical that he is the real deal.


(4) Bride Wars
- Liv (Kate Hudson)and Emma (Anne Hathaway),best friends since childhood, are always there for each other, through good times and bad. Even their respective bridal engagements happen within hours. Together they plan their weddings, each to take place at New York's ultimate bridal destination, the Plaza Hotel.But a clerical error and subsequent clash in wedding dates pits the two brides against each other in a competition that quickly escalates into all-out war.


So,while bad things happen to us like getting sick, it should not be bad and boring after all, but an opportunity for us to enjoy the sweet things of life - ice cream and movies!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Leather Anniversary!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



It's our third year as sweethearts so I am fascinated with everything "leather". For a romantic twist using this material, I gave ourselves three gifts:

First, a new 2010 Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo with its beige color perforated leather-vinyl combination seats. Like the big changes in the vehicle that we have come to love, we up our relationship to a greater reliability and durability as we enter another year.

Second, a leather key holders marked "M" - the blue "M" stands for Mark and the pink/purple "M" stands for "Mhe-anne". Thought would be nice to go with the new car keys!

Third,a his and hers Beveryl Hills Polo Club leather watches. I got them from the Cebu Pacific Airlines flight to Vietnam (Ho Chi Min City) and fell in love with the elegant black leather straps.

And maybe my prince didn't notice but we did everything in sets of 3: 3 rounds of 'phone calls', so that's three sets of "I love you's" and three sets of "mwah mwahs".


And for my wish list on our third anniversary - I also have 3 - first, anything in the mail on the exact anniversary date -July 5 (already granted). Got the surprised package of my favorite The "U" red jersey! Love it!! second, a phone call when it hits 12 midnight of July 5 (kinda got it as well though the call didn't go through, coz he remembers that I like those midnight calls on important occasions)and the third, drum roll... a Happy Leather Anniversary Teddy Bear! Saw it on the website and can't wait to have it! I don't mind if it's get to me on our fourth anniversary! We could always back fill the ones we've missed!! (call it hinting my prince! haha)

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I've been to 660 cities in 26 countries
Mhe-Anne is an explorer that:
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