Wednesday, July 30, 2008


IN A FEW short weeks the radiant blooms opened, filled the rolling Connecticut fields with light and joy, and then passed.

With a fully packed picnic basket, my girlfriend Jodie, her daughter Brianna and I drove to Buttonwood Farm located in a rural town of Griswold for another "must-see" Saturday fun.

A scenic hayride brought us through the heart of the farm and right into the middle of the sunflower fields...

We saw cows...

The pretty girl with the parasol stopped to smell the flowers...

An old stone wall and a clear white sky framing a sea of golden heads rocking gently in the breeze...

Buttonwood is one of the last surviving family farms in the area...

The sunflowers started as a marketing gimmick in the summer of 2003 to lure people to Mr. Button's (the owner) ice cream stand...

"Sunflowers for Wishes" for $5.00 a bunch helps make wishes come true for Connecticut children with life-threatening medical condition...such a great cause!

A quick dip at a nearby pond...

Another fun-filled summer day until it's time for us to go home...

See more photos HERE...

Monday, July 28, 2008


TO THOSE OF you who are new to my blog, my BF Joe was diagnosed with esophageal cancer (stage III) this past December. He's all done with his radiation and chemo treatments and is now able to eat again.

However, for the past two weeks, he's has been complaining of constant stomach pain. He finally went to see a GI today and he's scheduled to have a colonoscopy on August 14th.

When someone doesn't feel good, I always make Filipino soup. It's quick and very satisfying. I don't really measure when I cook (unless I'm baking) and I use whatever I have on hand.

In a boiling water (about 2 cups or just eyeball it), add tomato, red onion, ginger and thinly sliced beef and let it simmer for a while. Add green beans and let it boil. Season with salt and black pepper. I like to add sliced shrimps (if I have these available) and bring it to boil again. Finally, add spinach (or bok choy or napa cabbage) and scallions and take it off from the heat PRONTO!

And today's dinner... guess what? Another soup but it's the swordfish version. Tuna steaks would also be great for this.

Got any great soup recipes you can share?

Sunday, July 27, 2008


CINDY @ My Romantic Home is currently hosting OUR FAVORITE THINGS. What a great and fun idea this one is! For more great inspiration, please visit our lovely host.

If I have to choose one... this bureau has to be the NUMERO UNO on the list of my favorite things around Casa Maria. It has found its permanent spot in the dining room...FOR NOW. I love to move stuff around... drives The Big Guy crazy!

As I've mentioned before, BF Joe (aka The Big Guy) is my "trash man" who always reminds me that "one man's trash is another man's treasure". We found this bureau on a curbside during one of those yard sale trips we had. We couldn't believed that the owner was throwing this away. There was nothing wrong with it and the quality was great as it's made of solid wood. But this was your typical brown bureau and I, of course, had a different idea. I never wasted time... sanded it, painted it and distressed on areas where they normally show wear and tear. This bureau was FREE but I do admit that I spent too much money on the baker handles!

This season's vignette...

Saturday, July 26, 2008


WELCOME AND THANKS for stopping by on my 3rd PINK SATURDAY. And please, don't forget to visit our lovely host Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound.

Today I'll be showing you two of my (new) favorite things... photography and PINK, of course!

One of the kitties broke the handle of this teacup! I hate to throw this away so I found another use for it. Works great as a vase for small arrangements like this...

A new addition to my pink teacup collection. Every May, I host a tea party along with other ladies @ the church. And next spring, I am planning to have a pink tea party with mismatched tea sets.

Kitty strikes again! There's a long crack right next to the handle on this one. I should have learned my lesson by now o^-^o...

The following are spring blooms from my garden using Canon A720IS. If you're on a budget but do not want to sacrifice quality... this is 'the camera'.

Comte de has strong, damask fragrance.

Spirea 'goldmound'...

Unknown variety...

Have a nice PINK SATURDAY everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I'VE BEEN TAGGED again... this time by a new friend and fellow blogger Margie @ Josie's Niece. She's also new to the blogging world and if you have a chance, go check her out and say "hello". I hope I'm not boring you all but here are another 5 facts about me...

The Philippines (where I originally came from), South Korea and Japan.
In USA: the 6 states of New England, NY, NJ, WV, VA, PA, DE, OH, MD and DC

Right here in RI (I've been here since 1994). Ask me again in 20 years or so... the answer is definitely the PHILIPPINES. I would love to retire there someday.

I go through phases (at one time, I was into apples) but my tastes always run to The Romantic. iVillage has a decorating quiz and click HERE if you want to find out your own decorating style.

"Lace, pastels and dried flowers seem to find their way into every nook and cranny of your home -- and you love those nooks and crannies. A fan of the ultra-feminine Victorian period, you bring a touch of whimsy to your design. Lace or sheer fabrics grace your windows, beds and skirted tables. Never one for the bold, you keep your colors soft and feminine with hues of dusty rose, celadon green, lavender and buttery yellow. You embrace nostalgia, framing photos in an eclectic mix of jewel-embellished, gilded and fabric frames. You love to give your old pieces a new look, either by repainting metal and wood or adding floral or striped wallpaper to bookcases and cabinets".

Sooooo true!

Once and that didn't work out. I've been with my BF Joseph since 2000. He makes me laugh all the time. Joe is also my "trash man"... he has an "eagle eye" for free stuff.

I like white... all shades. Just so pure and serene. I also like green and yellow and a dash of pink or red here and there.

Oh dear... this one is a classic. I still get CARDED to this day! Yes, you heard that right. The most recent one happened this past May at a 99 Restaurant. I was surprised and flattered at the same time

And now I need to tag 3 wonderful bloggy friends. Have fun with it or you can just simply say "no".
1) Deb in CA @ Wisteria and Roses
2) Nancy @ FancyHorse
3) Joy @ Joy to the Blog

Sunday, July 20, 2008


"Insects play a vital role in a garden, but are unnoticed, so I put them on on such a large scale that you can't help but notice them."
- David Rogers, the Artist

MY GOOD FRIEND Karen (we also work with the same company) and I have one thing in common... we find so much joy in gardening. Yesterday we spent most of the day exploring the beauty and wonders of the Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA. RI is so tiny that visiting the nearby states of Connecticut or Massachusetts is such a breeze.

The garden is a living museum of 1,500 native plant varieties including rare and endangered species. And the highlights of the garden are David Roger's 13 gigantic natural wood insect sculptures. I am not squeemish at all when it comes to insects or bugs but I loathe snakes! When I was young, I found so much joy in catching dragonflies and sometimes I would ripped their little wings off! Would that make them a dragon since they can't fly anymore? o^_^o

Enjoy the photos...or may I say... proceed at your own risk!

And to view the rest of the photos (I took over 40 of them!), please click HERE.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


WELCOME TO MY 2nd Pink Saturday and thanks to everyone who visited and left lovely comments on my very 1st PS. In case you missed it, please click HERE.

And as always, thanks to Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound for hosting this fun and cool event.

Today, I'll take you all for a quick virtual tour of my country. I'm originally from the Philippines but I recently became a US citizen. Our culture may be different but we surely share the same passion for PINKNESS. Enjoy...

And since we don't need a car (it's considered a luxury)...we can hop in on one of these. The tricycles are the preferred ride when travelling short distances. And this town (wherever it is) only knows one color!

Image via Flickr

For long distance travel, we can take the jeepney (aka The King of the Road). They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from the World War II and are well known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating...

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

I've never been to a SINULOG parade (this might be similar to the MARDI GRAS in New Orleans). This is an annual festival to honor the child Jesus and and is actually a dance ritual that commemorates our pagan past and our acceptance of Christianity. PINK is obviously the color of choice for this "queen"!

Image via Flickr

And this is one of my favorite desserts. Halo halo (literally means "mix mix") is the Philippine version of the sundae but with a tropical twist. I wish you all lived near me and we can have a halo halo party... o^-^o

Image via Pinoy Recipe

Image via Flickr

My friend Karen and I are going to Framingham, MA today to visit the New England Wild Flower Society. I will visit everyone's PS as soon as I get home.

I wish everyone a happy weekend!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


AND THE WINNER is...#5 and that would be you "FANCYHORSE"... selected @ random. Please e-mail me your complete address and the goodies will be on your way. I hope you'll enjoy the rasberry teas as much as I do. Thanks to everyone who left a comment.

o O o

My very good friend and fellow blogger DEB @ Wisteria and Roses just tagged me. She's also new to the blogging world and if you have a chance... stop by over @ her new place to say "hello".

This is kind of hard for me for I am still getting to know myself ^_^ and I'm also going through the most difficult time in my life. So, ready or not (to myself)... here are a few facts and tidbits of and more about me...

I AM Filipino, I'm 40 years old and my full legal name is MARIA CONCEPCION ARABEJO BRENNAN. I don't answer to MARIA but I do love the sound of it on my blog name.
I THINK of my whole family in the Philippines and my sister Helen in Japan all the time.
I KNOW how to speak 3 languages: Filipino, English and Spanish. I gave up on learning Japanese! I have too much on my plate already!
I HAVE a BS degree in Elementary Education and taught elementary Art and Spanish in RI for a while. I failed 2x on the teaching exams. I'm not a dumb-dumb! Just had a couple of bad luck or just need to study harder :(
I WISH that there's a magic cure for cancer (or for any diseases). My BF Joe was diagnosed with esophageal cancer this past December and thankfully he's able to eat again.
I HATE snakes!
I MISS authentic Filipino food.
I FEAR (I cannot express it @ this moment...)
I FEEL blessed everyday...
I HEAR my BF snoring and it makes me smile... (he doesn't sleep too well).
I SMELL the neighbor grilling something delicious which turned out to be chicken kabobs and they gladly shared some with us (Thanks, Dave & Ali).
I CRAVE nothing else but fresh coconuts ..sigh...
I SEARCH all the time for wisdom and strength.
I WONDER what my mother is cooking right now. I should give her a call.
I REGRET...too many to count...but wasted precious time is number one on the list.
I LOVE soy sauce a lot!
I ACHE (I can skip this one)...
I AM NOT a huge fan of chocolates. So, don't give me any for Christmas unless they're loaded with nuts...
I BELIEVE in the power of prayer... always.
I DANCE all the pump up the volume.
I SING if you hand me the microphone...(with karaoke only)
I CRY easily...
I DON'T ALWAYS pay attention to the news...
I FIGHT not to cry while doing this post!
I WRITE ONLY when I blog...
I WIN if I play harder...
I NEVER smoke nor learned how to swim considering I came from a country surrounded by over 1,700 islands.
I ALWAYS wanted to be an architect.
I LISTEN NOT too well.
I CAN USUALLY BE FOUND (if time permits) power napping or crafting or gardening...I could just go on and on...
I AM SCARED (skip this one)
I NEED more confidence...I tend to sell myself short.
I AM HAPPY ABOUT anything... it doesn't take much to make me happy...
I IMAGINE of a world without hunger and pain...

Now that I have fulfilled my bloggy duty I am going to tag ONLY 2 friends: Nancy @ FancyHorse and Cielo @ The House in the Roses.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


WELCOME TO MY very first PINK SATURDAY with fellow blogger Beverly @ How Sweet The Sound. Thanks a million for hosting this event!

PINK is one of my favorite colors aside from white and green. So, here are a few of my favorite finds...

I have three pink tea cups in my small collection and I use them all the time...

Another good find from an antique store. As far as usage, they're not worth the yen I paid for them but they're very good decorative pieces.

Blogging has inspired me again to work on tons of unfinished projects that has been tucked away in the drawer for years and years...'Ashley' is one them and the poor girl has not seen the light of day since 2002! All she needs is a TLC and a good frame and I'm working on it!

Another WIP...I still don't know what to do with them! Maybe a small blanket... that means I only need about 1000 more of them!

Although, I said "no men allowed"...this little critter seemed to lick his way in...Say "hello" to Floppy!

Friday, July 11, 2008


FOOLED Y'ALL! I'm up early. And I have nothing much better to do than fool around with my photos with some help from Big Huge Labs. Make one for yourself from HERE.

Have a nice weekend everyone! It's in the 80's around here and no it. Yup, you read that right but try living in RI for a while... the humidity is a big killer around here! I am heading to Block Island tomorrow with her (again)...^_^

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


THE RASPBERRIES ARE growing wild in my backyard so why not make some iced tea?

And who couldn't resist taking pictures of these beauties? I don't know about you but I just find blogging not only mentally exhausting but also physically demanding...^_^ Just trying to get the best angle possible wasn't that easy for my aging back!

If you're an iced tea lover like me, I'd like to introduce you to my new obsession. The aroma of this tea can fill up the whole room and they just smell fruity and wonderful. They're kind of hard to find. And because I'm being nice I'd like to send you a box of these... just leave me a comment by Saturday @ 12midnight/EST. I will also throw in a few surprises for you (sorry...the crosstitched towel is not included). And who said I have to wait till my 100th post to do a giveaway. Let's break some rules. I'll draw the winner's name on Sunday, July 13th.

It's getting humid here in my neck of the woods...there's nothing better to quench your thirst than having a glass or two of freshly brewed raspberry iced tea. Please feel free to share your favorite iced tea recipe... I would love to try them all.