Shopping and Swedish Meatball Day at Ikea







I was so thrilled like a kid at a candy store. I have not been at Ikea in years even though it is just about 15 minutes from where I live.

SHOPPING: I went here on a whim and told myself that I will not get anything but just browse. How quickly did I change my tune! As soon as I walked in the door I already grabbed a bunch of stuff including a lamp for $3..99 and pack of tea light candles. In the end for about $30 I had a big bagful of fun little things — Halloween pillow, Christmas decors, light for the closet, a jar of lingonberry jam,  etc — each for few dollars and some change.

LUNCH: I took a break from shopping and  had to have the famed Ikea Swedish Meatballs with lingonberry jam, mashed potatoes and gravy. Yummers!  I also could not resist the cream cake that had suspected as Princess Cake since this cake originated from Sweden. And I was right — it was  Princess Cake!

I thought that I took lots of pictures of the store but I guess I was so busy shopping that I found out that I only took a few. Bargain shopping and yummy food for cheap. Such a fun afternoon.

And I will be back again for my Christmas shopping!

*Cheapest yummy lunch ever! — Swedish meatballs ($4.99) and Princess Cake ($1.49)  + tax = $7.06




Hidden Alley in Oakland


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Oakland, CA – Temescal Alley  is a really cool alley that was a former horse stable in the early 20th Century. Located in North Oakland this historical alley has been transformed into art galleries, cafe, fancy donut shop, boutique, bookstore etc  few years ago.  When I stumbled upon an unexpected and hard to come by parking spot by this alley I just had to grab it. I spent few moments browsing, exploring  and taking pictures!  And proud to say that this is my hood! And prouder that I muster enough willpower to  avoid getting the donuts from Donut Dolly. (The picture of the donuts was from a previous trip during my birthday a couple of years ago!)  It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in my neighborhood



Thursday Journal | Lessons on R&R



This is the second and last day of my staycation. As always I made a list and was determined to cross items off my list.  I did end up accomplishing quite a bit and managed to have fun by allowing the day’s surprises to leade me by the  hand in the form of open parking space and allowing last minute curiosity to take place. My day was simple but brought so many little joys:

1  Morning coffee and breakfast of Thomas muffin with strawberry jam with hard boiled egg while still in my pj’s. Drinking coffee while still in my pj’s is my idea of a perfect morning.

2. A little bit of reading

3. Left the house to drop off clothes at cleaners. (Finally, I have been trying to do this for almost a year now! Ha! Ha!) CHECK!

4. Then saw a parking space by Temescal Alley — a really cool alley that was a former horse stable that has been transformed into art galleries, cafe, fancy donut shop, boutique, bookstore etc.  I grabbed the spot and went to the alley to browse and take pictures! (And proud to say that this is my hood!)

5. Dropped  donations off  at Goodwill then went thrift store shopping. Got a pretty soap dish for 99 cents! (I have been trying to drop donations off for months as well!) CHECK!

6. I was just driving when I had the idea to drive to Ikea which was just down the street. What a fun shopping experience! I forgot how much fun (and how cheap!) going to Ikea is. It has been many years since I last went. I got a bagful of fun things for the house for $30. I also had lunch there and of course I had to have the famed Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy! (And okay, I could not resist the cream cake with raspberry which is really a Princess cake!) SCORE!

When I got home the BF was already home waiting. It turned out to be a fun day. And I actually learned two lessons during this staycation:

  • LESSON #1 : One day is not enough. Two days are perfect to achieve that level of rest and relaxation. The first day is really  just for resting and getting my bearings back again. The second day is for exploring.
  • LESSON #2:  Planning my day  is not really what works best for me. Chores and errands are not an issue. it is telling myself that I must go somewhere to have fun. I was planning to go to Crissy Field which is a beautiful open park by the ocean and Golden Gate Bridge. I was not feeling it though and when I do not go I feel guilty. Serendipity works for me —  like coming upon an open parking spot, finding little alleys and hidden gems, and just letting the day take me to where it wants me to be, instead of tryng to find my way.

So grateful for life’s little surprises, simple joys and rest for the body and spirit!

Wednesday Journal: Cinnamon Apple Toasts and Coffee




This is the first day of my two day staycation.  I had big plans to get out of the house to run errands, do chores but not in a hurried way. Well, except the bf came home from work at noon! I guess I should be thankful and flattered that he likes to hangout with me. I did not have the heart to leave him by himself at home. I just decided to stay with him on the couch while he napped and watched TV all afternoon while I created my WordPress blog. This was born out of frustration which I wrote about here. I have also been wanting to create a backup blog just in case something happens to my Tumblr blog for some reason.  So I guess my day off  has not been wasted after all.  And at least I got to enjoy my breakfast of caramel apple toast wtih honey and a hot cup of coffee while still in my pjs when the bf left for work that morning. I also got to watch a movie on my Kindle at dawn before breakfast . These unhurried quiet and coffee moments at home are my definitions of pure bliss! And I stayed up until past 1 am  that evening (or morning) snacking and reading blogs! Just like during my high school and college days which were many lifetime ago!


Monday Journal | Wednesday Journal | Thursday Journal

Monday Journal | A Respite From Everyday Life


“We must listen to our precious and beautifully orchestrated bodies, be gentle with self, heal self…. Even if the boredom seems to be making us feel even worse.”


My teammate texted me these words of wisdom. They were so beautifully worded that I want to remember them. Actually at the end of her text she added “Summer reads?”

I already scheduled to take a couple of days off from Wednesday to Thursday because I am maxing out on vacation time. (Yes, such a nice problem to have!) I also badly needed a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday commuting, running from one meeting to another, 2 o’ clock lunches, etc.  On Monday, however, I had to take off because I woke up with a pretty bad abdominal pain. No worries, I am 100 percent better again as I am writing this but it was when I was sick when received those texts. She added “ Summer reads?” because I told her that I was bored, And the power of words! As soon I read her message  I decided to embrace the day instead of fighting it. (I hate, hate calling in sick!)

So i ate my comfort food which is a bowl of rice porridge with meatballs, drank hot chocolate, read my cozy mystery and slept all afternoon! This is when I know that I am truly sick — when I get to take a nap. I just cannot on any given day.

As much as I hate being sick sometimes life gives us a break because we really need it. And I realize that when I do get sick my body is telling me that it is time to  slow down. As my friend puts it our bodies are beautifully orchestrated and we need to be gentle with it. Amen to that!