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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Photography Strategies

For many travelers, snapping pictures is as essential as carrying a passport. Here are at least 6 tips that will enhance your skills in taking your photographs on your next trip.
  1. Get Up Close. - Try to create an intimacy and closeness with your subject. The first seconds are always the most spontaneous-sometimes the person is uncomfortable or tense - but after a few frames, he will usually regain composure and relax. All of these emotions come through in the image.
  2. Try Low Light. - Taking pictures after sunset without a flash requires that you steady your camera - you can place it on a piece of furniture or even atop a pint of beer. Even if the sky looks dark, there is more light in it than you might think. Combined with the glow of streetlights, the result is dramatic, surreal effect.
  3. Look For Humor. - Try getting interested in being a mischievous ironist. There are funny situations to be found all over the world.
  4. Pay Attention to Scale. - Scale can help you tell a story.
  5. Catch People in Motion. - A little blur of movement helps create a lively atmosphere.
  6. Find An Unusual Vantage Point. - You can gain tremendous perspective and can concentrate a lot of information into a single photo.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cool Gifts For Christmas

This time, many of you might still be looking for some gifts that are ideal to give for your co-workers, friends or even for your boss. Financially wise, we need to be extra cautious in overspending by choosing gifts that are ideal to give and yet more affordable and budget friendly. Let's face it, our present economy is still gloomy and we are holding on to a tight budget! But on the other side of the story, we don't have to give up the fun and the spirit of giving during the Christmas season, don't you agree?
Here are some that I can suggest for your gift searching. Why not try personalized holiday gifts? These can be the best choice to have for your boss at work :). Or, you can buy one for yourself as well if you are having trouble where to store your computer files at home or at work.
Pexagon Technology is offering 20% off today until the year ends for your awesome personalized holiday gift ideas such as personalized thumb drives in 14 different colors, personalized pens in 3 unique styles and multiple colors, business card flash drives and wooden USB flash drives. Check these cool gifts ideas online by visiting pexagontech.com and you might even get more excited getting those items :). They are small and sleek, and convenient to carry. Where else can you get a gift personalized and with a discounted price offer such as this? Just continue browsing for more cooler gift products. It's really worth your money.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania –(Part 3)

The garden has also gardens constructed in a larger greenhouse called conservatory. There are at least 16 gardens inside including halls which are worth visiting and as attractive as the outdoor gardens.

1. Conservatory Orangery and Exhibition Hall – Originally, this area was planted with orange trees. Now, this is filled with ever blooming flowerbeds and manicured lawns. This is the Main Conservatory which was opened in 1921. This has adjoining greenhouses to grow flowering plants and fruits.
The exhibition hall has a sunken, marble floor covered with few inches of water for reflection. On some occasions, the floor is drained for special displays and entertainment. It has creeping fig and bougainvillea trained on the pillars and walls.
If you prefer to hear and learn more about the plants, they offer a self-guided audio tour inside the conservatory, pointing out the history, design, plants and mechanical infrastructure and other behind-the-scenes facts.

2. East Conservatory – this showcases remarkable water features. A central flowing stream and 16’ wide waterfall add sound and motion to the garden. Each of the black-dyed pools is heated to support aquatic plant life year-round.

3. Children’s Garden Construction Project – this temporary exhibit highlights some of the amazing sculpted features and garden designs that will be found in the new Children’s garden. A mini-maze filled with plants entices children to explore the new design of the Children’s garden. A remote controlled camera allows them to view the construction progress.

4. Ballroom, Pipe Organ & Gallery
The ballroom is unique for its elaborate finishes including a parquet floor, fabric-paneled walls, and ceiling comprising 1,104 panes of rose-colored etched glass.
The Pipe Organ Museum Gallery – interprets the history and mechanics of Longwood’s Aeolian organ and chronicles Mr. Du Pont’s interest in music as well as the 2000-year history of pipe organs. As the restoration proceeds, visitors can view the wood and metal pipes housed in the organ chamber.

5. Outdoor Waterlily Display – this displays wide variety of aquatic plants from all over the world. The pools are filled with numerous types of day-and-night-blooming tropical waterlilies, lotuses, giant waterplatters, and other aquatic and bog plants.

6. Production Greenhouses
This 30,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility assists Longwood staff in growing plants for display in the neighboring 4-acre conservatory.

7. Mediterranean House – this greenhouse displays plants grown in Mediterranean-type climates from around the world which are characterized by moist, cool winters and hot, dry summers. Plants from these regions require high light levels, good air circulation, and a minimum temperature of 40F. This garden is at its peak in early to late spring.

8. Palm House – this greenhouse first opened on Palm Sunday, 1966, the reason why it got its name. It features unusual palms and cycads, lush groundcover plants, and the sound of rushing water that create a tropical feeling throughout the year.

9. Bonsai – these are potted miniature trees specimens that imitate full-size plants in nature. Horticulturists periodically prune roots, branches, and leaves to shape as well as keep the bonsai from outgrowing their containers. They shape plans into a variety of forms by wrapping wire around the stems. This permits branches to be bent and trained into the desired position. The wires are eventually removed.

10. Potting Shed – the gardeners use this shed as a planning and staging area for many of the magnificent horticultural displays.

11. Estate Fruit House – this garden is a striking example of the creative reuse of existing structures. Two of the favourite fruits of Mr. Du Pont are being grown here, nectarines and grapes. The fruits is produced at least a month ahead of the outdoor season by controlling heating and ventilation.

12. Cascade Garden – this garden features water cascades splashing into clear pools and lush, richly textured plants clinging to the walls and carpeting the ground.

13. Rose House – Pierre du Pont used this greenhouse to grow roses for cutting and display from late fall to early summer. Chinese hibiscus plants have been added to the terraced beds to extend seasonal interest.

14. Tropical Terrace – Visitors enter this tropical garden of lush foliage through the dangling 20-ft.long spaghetti-like aerial roots of the princess vine. Familiar houseplants such as philodendrons and calatheas, and many unusual tropical plants with bold textures and bright colors are displayed here. A rabbit’s foot-fern hanging in the center of the greenhouse was planted in 1953 and weighs approximately 500 pounds.

15. Orchids and Banana House The orchid room houses the best of Longwood’s more than 3,200 types of orchids. At least 300-500 plants at peak bloom at one time adding color and fragrance in the air. Nearby, visitors can stroll beneath a diverse collection of one of the principal food crops of the world, the banana. 20 different types are grown in Longwood and range from the towering 30-ft.plantain to the dwarf banana that is easily grown in a container.

16. Silver Garden – Displays gray and silver-foliage plants adapted to the arid landscape of the Mediterranean and desert regions. The meandering shape of the gray-blue slate hints of a dry streambed as would be found on the floodplain of a desert. Rock outcroppings catch the eye in the center, and the “stream” disappears behind the boulders.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Shopper's Lucky Day Before Turkey Day!

Guys, just check on Sears Pre-Thanksgiving Sale. Have you seen the amazing deals yet? You can either visit them online (just click on the underlined link above), or visit any Sears store nearest you.
Well, it's probably time to get lucky and grab the chance of getting big savings from Sears, don't you think? At least, you get peace of mind by the time you're on, celebrating the big turkey day!...with a blast! :).
From home appliances, kitchen appliances and many more, you can get savings for more than $100. A cash back of 15% after mail-in rebate is also available for all appliances that worth more than $499. Quite a good deal, right?
And here's one that I consider a perfect gift for your family, friend or just for yourself; - a Sony 7.2 megapixel digital camera for only $129.99...that's after $50. instant savings!


I think this would be the best thing to have for the big turkey day celebration. You deserve to have one to capture all the memories of celebrating Thanksgiving Day with your loved ones!...and where else can you get a good deal? That's only when you get it at Sears! And that would also be the time wherein you consider yourself a lucky shopper, right? Buying your Sony camera is worth it after all...with a good quality and a good price rolled into one.
Happy shopping everyone!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania (Part 2)


The Outdoor Gardens:
1. The Cow Lot. The ideal thing to start your tour begins here. This large open lawn, framed with specimen trees, was once a pasture.
2. Open Air Theatre – This is an outdoor theatre built in 1913. Because of Pierre du Pont’s love of music and drama, this was completed in 1914, then re-designed and enlarged in 1926-27. Today, it features all types of music performances and fountain displays. Fountains built into the stage perform daily from spring through Christmas and after dark are illuminated by hidden colored lights. An unusual water features serves as the stage curtain, rising 10’ in front of the stage before most performances.
3. Peirce-du Pont House – Step inside the house and see the heritage exhibit on the first floor which features historic photos, artifacts and a video that tells the story of the stewards of the land who preserved and developed the property.
4. Pierce’s Park – this is an arboretum that includes many large trees planted by the Pierce family in the 1800’s. Some of the trees here are approximately 200 years old.
5. Flower Garden Walk – this garden was created by Pierre du Pont that became the first flower garden and fountain in 1907. Today, the plantings bordering the 600-ft. long brick walk are mixtures of annual and perennial flowers, spring bulbs, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
A semi-circular store called “Whispering Bench” concludes the eastern end of the walk.

Try this; - Sit on one end of the Whispering Bench and have a friend sit on the other end. Cup your hand and whisper a secret toward the center of the bench and notice how your voice travels around the curve!
6. Pierce’s Woods – This is an “art form” garden of native woodland plants that features fragrant native azaleas in April and May.
7. Italian Water Garden – the basic layout of he design was inspired from Villa Gamberaia, near Florence, Italy while Mr. & Mrs. Du Pont was having their European trip, made with a water staircase and 600 jets that re-circulate 4,500 gallons of water each minute. The underground plumbing and drainage systems represent state-of-the-art technology, and the fountain display is computer operated.
8. Wisteria Garden – showcases cascades of violet and white flowers that spill from arbors and tree-form wisteria in May.
9. Square Fountain – this is an enclosed water feature fountain, surrounded by seasonal flowers and built in 1908.
10. Peony Garden – The garden derived its name from the shrubby hybrid tree peonies that bloom each May, along with Japanese irises and golden chain trees. Architectural interests are also added such as sundial and teak branches.
11. Flower Garden Drive – this 600-ft.long avenue parallels the Flower garden Walk with a magnificent alle’e (double row) of 27 bald cypress trees, fronted by an arborvitae hedge, that provides a stately backdrop for a double flower border.
12. Theater Garden – this is a walled theatre garden designed by Thomas Church in 1975. Now, it’s considered as a garden for all seasons, a decorative patchwork of muted colors and extravagant textures.
13. The Rose Arbor – it serves as one of the outdoor staging, areas for concerts when Rosa ‘American Pillar’ blooms in June. At the center of it is an old Italian wellhead that was given to Longwood in 1970.
14. Children’s Garden – this is undergoing complete rebuilding of its indoors. The graphic panels explain the new design.
15. Conservatory Terrace and Main Fountain Garden – The conservatory has colourful flowers and exotic foliage that are combined in year-round horticultural displays. The main fountain garden has 380 fountains and spouts set in Italian limestone basins and canals that create spectacular displays throughout the summer. At night, the fountains can be illuminated by 724 colored lights.
16. Outdoor Children’s Garden – this features a lively bee-themed activities including a honeycomb maze, “buzz trail” and flower fountain.
17. Idea Garden – This used to be once a large vegetable garden that supplied food for Mr. & Mrs. Du Pont and Longwood employees, with a 5-acre wide garden. It was developed early 1980’s into an educational displays for home gardeners.
18. Pump House – This is part of the garden,-the equipment that drives the main fountains, waterfalls and eye of water.
19. Chimes Tower Hillside – If you come across the hillside walk, you’ll notice that exuberant bulb, shrub and perennial plants spill down the slope of it, providing colors from spring to fall. As you continue to follow the path, you’ll discover magnificent views of the waterfall and Chimes Tower, with intimate places to sit and listen to carillon performances.
20. Chimes Tower – This eye-catching tower is 61-ft. tall that features a 62-bell carillon that rings hourly and for concerts. As you walk along the Chimes Tower, it provides a series of sunny and shaded spots for tranquil contemplation amid spectacular views. Various colors of trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials throughout the year draws visitors to the eye-catching tower. At the base of the tower is a video that talks about the history and mechanics of the Chimes Tower.
21. Frog Hollow – this is a moist, low-lying area that fills with daffodils, magnolias and grape-hyacinths and usually gives color in Spring until end of June.
22. Conifer Knoll – the sloping landscape is dominated with mature specimens of majestic evergreens. Covering the top of the knoll is a variety of conifers.
23. Oak Knoll – Various oak species dominate this knoll. From March through April, thousands of pale purple crocuses and yellow winter aconites create beneath the leafless oak tress.
24. Eye of Water – this modern water feature sits above a 90,000 gallon reservoir that supplies the waterfalls and main fountain garden.
25. Rose Garden – a traditional garden installed in 1930, features many varieties of fragrant roses that bloom from June to October.
26. Topiary Garden – this attractive garden features evergreen yews that are trimmed into large geometric forms and whimsical shapes. The desired forms take years to develop. Today, it now includes more than 20 different shapes with more than 50 specimens. Within this garden is an analemmatic sundial which took 8 years of daily readings to perfect it, which is accurate to within 2 minutes. A sign on the site explains how to read it.
27. Caryopteris Alle’e – this long, narrow alle’e between the topiary and rose gardens has double rows of blue caryopteris and white hibiscus that bloom in late summer.
28. Lilacs – features 70 different lilac varieties that has plantings of white, pink and purple lilacs on both sides of the path leading to the main fountain garden. They bloom during late April and May with delightful fragrance.
29. Forest Walk – this natural woodland walk takes visitors under magnificent tulip trees, ashes and maples.
30. Meadow – this comprises 2 areas, the meadow trailhead and the meadow bridge platform that glows with wildflowers in late summer and fall. These areas were added as a new dimension for horticultural displays. The bridge platform contains native wildflowers. It becomes attractive and alive with moths, butterflies and birds during late summer and early fa

Fly to New Zealand For Free!

Who does not want a free trip to New Zealand? After all, I and my husband have been wishing to visit this country one day. For many blog travelers out there, it seems it's gonna be a dream come true this time! :). If you are dreaming of becoming a travel blogger, then this really the best chance for you to fulfill it into reality! The good news is that it's free, because Air New Zealand and Larry the Travel Guy are giving away two (2) free round trip air fare from LA to Auckland, New Zealand.
But before I proceed, you might want to meet and know more about Larry, - the Travel Guy ;). Be sure to visit his site larrythetravelguy.com and take time to take a peek on all of his photos and videos for those places he had visited. Besides, your trip will be featured on his site mentioned.
By the way, this is a "LarryTheTravelGuy" contest, sponsored by Air New Zealand Limited. The good thing about this is you don't need to purchase anything to join the contest. All you need to do is check on the terms and conditions on one of the given links and from there, you will be all set to be ready for your trip!
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania (Part 1)


When it comes to nature tripping, one of my favourites is the Longwood gardens. In fact, we are already a garden pass member together with my husband.

We have been visiting the gardens for many times now, but in fact, we haven’t completed visiting all the gardens yet. Well, at least we all have the valid reasons to keep going back J.

Longwood Gardens had its centennial celebration, in the year 2006. It started in 1906, and with its 100 years of existence, it had gone a long way of better improvement and constant nurturing that the beauty of it became one of the most visited gardens in the whole world.

The basic historical facts about the garden:

Longwood Gardens is located on US route 1, about 3 miles northeast of Kennet Square, PA, 30 miles west of Philadelphia, PA and 12 miles north of Wilmington, DE.

In 1906, industrialist Pierre S. Du Pont purchased the property to save its collection of historic trees. His preservation efforts blossomed into a full-fledged passion for gardening that has rarely been equalled.

Over the past 100 years, Longwood Gardens has matured into one of the world’s great horticultural showplaces. It is not only a garden per se, but also showcases the excellence and innovation in preservation, horticulture, education, philanthropy and the performing arts.

There are at least 31 (and more are coming) outdoor gardens in Longwood Gardens. To find out, the only thing you can do is visit the gardens. You will be awed by the garden’s beauty as you see various trees and plant collections in different gardens.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Naked Brothers Band's New Movie

To all mommies out there who have younger kids, get your kids to a place where they can have real fun by watching video and listening to audio entertainments, as well as a place where they can play interactive games and activities. This site online is safe and within a closely monitored environment, so you don't have to worry. Your children's privacy is of utmost concern, and the site is strictly committed with the Children's Online Privacy Act (COPPA) provisions. Kids younger than 13 years of age are free to explore the site's many offerings, ensuring their identity is properly protected. They can actively participate in live chat sessions, message boards, etc. - with trained adult monitors that will closely be monitoring them.
For those kids who are already avid followers of Nat and Alex Wolff, watch out for their new premiere Operation Mojo. You can get in touch with them this Saturday, November 22 via a live chat. This would also be a great chance for the first timers to hang out with the Naked Brother's Band as well.
There's more to it aside from Nat and Alex. As you closely browse further on their fun-filled pages, there's a lot they offer for fans and followers...music, prizes, games, news, etc. Hey, and don't forget to watch their videos as well! You can catch them up at youtube and subscribe from there ;).
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Natnalex

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"TOMB" - by 5WITS Boston

"Tomb" is considered to be a full immersion adventure. It's fabulously made to test your wits in this mind-bending adventure of sights, sounds and action.
Upon entering the "tomb", - it's like stepping into an Indiana Jones movie, where you will be in a simulated 3,000 year-old tomb with only your flashlight and your wits to guide you.
It provides a unique, walk-through interactive adventure experience using state-of-the-art special effects and mind-boggling riddles in a fantastic setting.

This is a 45-minute adventure of excitement. You'll find yourself trapped by the spirit of an ancient pharaoh, faced with ingenious challenges that must be completed for any chance of making it out alive.
If you have a large group, you must work together to find success in this battle of wits, or face the pharaoh's wrath! They said: - if you fail, death awaits! (LOL! of course, in reality it's NOT!).

Consider yourself to be lucky just in case you happened to read this experience we've been through :). What I will be sharing is more than a clue to help you get the clearer picture once you are inside the tomb.

1st Chamber: Before stepping into the first chamber, you have to find a way to open that first door, of course! ( No clues on this part, pls!). Once you're inside, (your guide will be with you, don't worry), you'll be hearing pharaoh's instructions.

  • You'll gonna find those lights that illuminates...(colored red).
  • Move the statue.
  • Play pharaoh's music. There will be 4 buttons with a corresponding pitch. By hearing pharaoh's music, you have to play those buttons correctly by following the correct tunes.
2nd Chamber:
  • Move the pyramids one at a time from box1 to box 2. This requires mind skills and technique. You have to do it fast as time runs fast. Or else, you'll be crushed with that ceiling as it goes down.
3rd Chamber:
  • Do the picture puzzle on the floor. You have to complete the puzzle basing on the revolving puzzle on the wall consisting of symbols. This requires sharp eye skills as it is quite confusing. In our experience, we missed this one as our time ended too soon. So we were taken to a pipe puzzle on the wall which is much easier once you get the instructions.

4th Chamber:
  • Symbol puzzles. You have to complete these puzzles on the four corner posts. Again, this requires mind and eye skills.
5th Chamber:
  • This will be the final verdict! - it's the pharaoh's tomb. It's up to you to find way of illuminating pharaoh's face from a light coming from the outside.
So, ... did you find yourself wittier than the others? Fun, isn't it?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Give a Gift, Grant a Wish!

Sears Layaway seems to be perfect for this coming holidays for my loved ones. Every Christmas, I buy my gifts in department stores . Honestly, Sears is one of the stores I visit regularly. The best thing is, Sears is close from home too! :). So, it's really a perfect timing as well.
One thing I would definitely buy for my mother-in law is a floral print sweater by Covington. The color (black tonal) is perfect for her as she loves either the floral or lace designs :).
Also, I have decided to get a gift for my own at home; - a 7qt. slow cooker by Kenmore. This would help me save more time with cooking. At least, I can do more chores at home that I need to do. Besides, I would no longer get so much stress in the kitchen from all the mess of cooking.
An electric and rechargeable lawn mower would be good and ideal as a gift for hubby. Honestly, we are still using an obsolete (gas powered) and already old one. Both of the rear wheels are barely moving...and yes, hubby would surely be surprised when he will get it! I have decided to shop these online...no hassle for driving, and more convenient for me. What else can I ask for? Most of the prices are also discounted, so this is a great chance to shop as well.
At Sears, you can grant a wish not just by giving a gift this holiday season...only at Sears ! Shop today to avoid the rush.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Alamo – San Antonio, Texas

If you are interested to learn a little bit of a history lesson, you can go visit the Alamo for a walk around the luscious, meticulously groomed grounds. No photos are allowed inside, so better take photos outside the front doors before you go inside if you want keepsakes.

The Story of The Alamo, 13 fateful days in 1836:

This would be a long story to tell, so it would only be briefly summarized just to have a short background about the place.

The Alamo in 1836 occupied grounds and buildings of former Mision San Antonio de Valero. Used as a military post since the early 1800’s, the Texians had barricaded openings and mounted at least 19 cannon before the 13-day siege.

The final assault came before daybreak on the morning of March 6, 1836, as columns of Mexican soldiers emerged from the predawn darkness and headed for the Alamo’s walls. Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks. Regrouping, the Mexicans scaled the walls and rushed into the compound. Once inside, they turned captured cannon on the Long Barrack and church, blasting open the barricaded doors. The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. By sunrise, the battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound to survey the scene of his victory.

While the facts surrounding the siege of the Alamo continue to be debated, there is no doubt about what the battle has come to symbolize. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against overwhelming odds-a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.


Hubby up close :)





Alamo Plaza

How we wish we could stay longer. There are still some more to do, but we lack time. For sure, if we get the chance to go back, it will be more fun time memories to cherish!