• About

    Charmed Life
    Thank you for visiting this blog. I have recently transferred all my post in my new blog. I will not be blogging here anymore. I hope to see you there.
    Life’s a Charm!

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    All photos and information contained within https://charmedlife.wordpress.com and its subdirectories and sub-sites, unless otherwise referenced, are the property of Charlotte from https://charmedlife.wordpress.com. No use, including reproduction, retransmission, or editing, may be made without prior permission from the owner.

Top 3 – Blog Design and Functions

My current blog design started at Spring. I designed it myself. I was happy about it until now, that Summer is coming. I am again itching to change my blog design, but I have no inspiration for now on how I want it to look like next. Last year, I change my design more than 3 times.

This blog is powered by WordPress. I have added in this site about 20 plugins, or application or function. My top 3 favorite plugins that I have always maintained in my site are Contact Form, jQuery Colorbox and Comment Reply Notification.

CONTACT FORM (Credit: Contact Form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi)

Because I don’t like to publicize email addresses, including mine, I added a Contact Page with a comprehensive and simple contact form to contact me.

I honor all email addresses, including mine. Emails addresses shared in this site will be used only for reply purposes. Email addresses will never be displayed publicly and will never be shared to others.

jQUERY COLORBOX/LIGHTBOX (Credit: jQuery Colorbox | Techotronic by Arne Franken)

Family Portrait

Mark (12-months) and Matthew (4) with Mommy and Daddy

When image that is linked to the original image is clicked, the orignal image or photo is displayed on a layer on top of the current page. I just love this plugin because it allows the reader to view the photo in a bigger resolution without leaving the current page.

Click photo at the right for a demonstration of this plugin.

COMMENT REPLY NOTIFICATION (Credit: Comment Reply Notification by denishua)

Comments are made better with replies, and comment-replies adds to the discussion in the posts! And I like to reply to comments.

I just love this plug-in because when a reply is made to a comment through the reply function of WordPress, this plugin automatically notifies the comment-author of the reply. The reply is posted and public in a thread under the original comment, and the author at the original comment is automatically notified of the reply without me having to email them about the reply. This will allow the original comment author to follow up the comment and expand the conversation if desired.

How often do you change your blog design? 

Who or where is your favorite source for blog design and inspiration?

What blog plugin or function is – your favorite in your blog, OR you have seen from other blogs that you would like to add to your blog?


Let Me Drive

I was asking hubby what he wants to do on his summer break. Working for a school allows him to have that 2-month (more or less) long summer break, and summer break is not too far along.

Hubby: I want a stress-free summer doing nothing.

Me: I want to get my driver’s license.

Hubby: That is not stress-free for me.

While having just a Learner’s Permit, I can only drive a car with a licenced driver. And so far, hubby has been an unwilling ‘licenced driver ‘ to let me practice driving.

Growing up in the Philippines, I never really thought about driving since we never owned a car and the public transportation is so accessible.

While in Japan (4-5 years ago), I did take driving lessons. Coming the United States in 2008, I got a learner’s permit but since then, I have only driven very few times. And on those few times it was so challenging to get hubby to be relaxed on my driving. I am really out-of-practice and I can’t deny that I am lacking in ‘driver’s instinct’. Sigh!

I really would like to drive confidently, and get myself an actual driver’s license soon, but don’t know how to start. I especially would like to drive soon since Matthew is starting school and would like to be able to go to his school as much as I am allowed to.

How about you, do you drive? Who taught you to drive? How did you learn? Who has/had been your driving critic?

The Movie Barn, Some Kind of Crappy

Have you ever watched a movie you wish you didn’t watch? OR a movie you can’t get your eyes off because you wonder how it’s ever going to get crappier, and it DOES get crappier? Or that movie with a very unsatisfying ending, you want to change the story?

What crappy movies have you seen lately?

Machete (2010) 

This is that movie, so over-the-top, so well produced, so full of gore, and so bad! But it’s so funny and so entertaining how bad it is. I couldn’t get my eyes of it because I wonder if this movie is ever going to get worse and crappier, and it’s so funny that it actually  DID!

I can’t believe how well-casted this movie is Jessica Alba, Robert Diniro, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan…

Jessica Alba even went nude for this movie. Unbelievable!

Due Date (2010) 

I usually like a Robert Downey movie. But I cringed at this movie because of the other leading character of the movie, Ethan as portrayed by Zach Galifianakis. I am really annoyed by the deliberate inappropriateness this character showed, that I keep forgetting the movie is supposed to be a comedy. The Ethan character is jsut so awful, made me hate this movie!

Going the Distance (2010) 

There were times when Drew Barrymore makes fun and great movies, feel-good and timely romances or movies about self-discovery and women empowerment (Ever After, Charlie’s Angels and more). Most of her previous movies were great! Some of them I like to watch over and over… until Going the Distance. It’s crap! The story and dialogues are distasteful. And Drew Barrymore and Justin Long don’t have onscreen chemistry. I did not like this movie at all.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) 

Umbrella Corporation did it again – make zombies!

I like the previous Resident Evil movies. My favorite is the very one which came out in 2002. With the coming out of the 4th installment, Resident Evil: Afterlife, I think the story went so overboard, but then it’s science-fiction. But still, I think it’s gone overdone, and I want better story, better twists ..

Choices, #4

Style: Classic, Contemporary or Country?
Crushed Ice or Ice Cubes?
Dogs or Cats?
Books or Movies?
Twitter or Facebook?

My choices are Contemporary, Ice Cubes, No pets, Movies and Facebook.

Read Previous Choices: #1, #2, #3


Every year it seems to me I hear complaints about spring. It is either “late” or “unusually cold,” “abnormally dry” or “fantastically wet,” for no one is ever willing to admit that there is no such thing as a normal spring. ~ Thalassa Crusso

We certainly have those abnormal spring weather. Sometimes it’s chilly and sometimes it’s too hot, dry and humid, and then suddenly it hails. Crazy weather! But it’s all good. After a long winter, mostly coop up in the house, we were finally able to get out without being worried about wearing three layers of clothing. And of course, I am not complaining about the colorful flowers in bloom this season. They are just so lovely to look at. Thank goodness, I have no allergies to Spring’s pollen, neither are my kids.

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil. ~ Reginald Heber

I chanced upon taking photos of the blooms in our front yard after my boys and I are walking in the campus. The photos turned out great with the pink flowers in full bloom, the freshly mowed green grass in front of the white house. I wished I had taken photos around the campus. A lot of areas in the campus are still filled with Spring blooms.

Spring 2011


Spring 2011

Matthew (4) and Baby Mark (11-months)

Spring 2011

I shoot a lot of pictures just to catch the two of them looking at me, preferably smiling, at the same time. I get lucky SOMETIMES. But MOST of the shots are like this - the two of them looking away to the same direction at the same time. What a joke!


Spring 2011

The house at Spring.


Photos taken on April 4, 2011. Click photos for enlarge view.
Click HERE for more Spring 2011 Photos.

And guess what, the night when these photos were taken, there was a thunderstorm, and temperature dropped again. Sigh! And now, it’s back up again.

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter. ~ Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

Spring, love it or hate it?

I love Fall, my favorite! And I love Spring, second.

On My Wall

On my wall hangs …

When hubby and I were newly married, and have just moved in together to our very first apartment, we were talking about decorating it. I had told him that all I want decorated on the walls are the stuffs that I did myself.

So far I have continued on to this tradition in a way. On the walls in the house we are living now hang my framed cross-stitch projects that I am so proud of. However they are not all done by me.

I have a set of Four Seasons Cross-stitch, one project with a design of basket full of flowers that are in bloom of the depicted season. They are framed to match our electronics stuffs and are hung where the TV and the entertainment system are. So they are in the living room.

Matthew and Four Seasons

Matthew (4), On the wall: Four Seasons Cross-stitch

I actually started the ‘Winter‘ Cross-stitch, but my mother completed the rest within the six months she stayed with us in 2006. It was right around before and after Matthew was born. (She was around to help me with my very first newborn baby Matthew. Right now, Matthew is 4-years old.)

In the dining room wall hangs 3 framed cross-stitch projects: “Eight Horses“, “Mother and Child Scarlet Minivet Birds” and “Mother and Child Tigers“. I started them when we got married and completed them before my first baby Matthew was born. Thinking about this, they were completed within the two years of my ‘I want a baby‘ phase. The theme almost screams that, don’t you think?

Also, in the dining room wall hangs 2 Framed Japanese Dolls, which are not done by me in any way but I bought from Japanese Souvenir Store.

In Sympathy, Humility and Gratitude

I am glued to the news about the earthquake in Japan, and going through Facebook especially on my friends in Japan. Most of them are accounted for so far, although most of them walked hours to get home, because of the road congestion and the subway trains not functioning. And they are still so nervous over the aftershocks. For those I have lost touch with, my prayers that they are safe!

For ALL those who have lost life, loved ones and property in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, my deepest sympathy.

I have already talked to my mother in the Philippines. She assured me that even with the earthquake and tsunami warnings going their way, they are all okay including my sister, cousins and relatives in Manila. Sigh of relief! I hope and pray they continue to stay safe.

I hope all those in the danger areas are staying alert and ready …

Seeing all the news footage, it’s so surreal! I have known for a fact that Japan, the whole country is earthquake prone. It safe to say that the country is earthquake-ready, the architecture of the structures, the buildings and houses in Japan, are all built in anticipation for earthquakes. But I don’t think, there can actually be anything that is earthquake proof for something as big as 8.9 magnitude with TSUNAMI.

It’s devastating!

And this makes my heart is so heavy. I lived in Japan for 8 years. Met hubby there. Matthew was born there. We could have been there, but we are not. Instead, we are here in sunny weather in the woods of Alabama, safe and sound. And I feel so humbled,…

Have you had any first-hand experience to natural disasters or anything similar?

In humility and gratitude, I have not. I pray it stays that way for myself and family and loved ones, and for everyone else.

Let me further answer this by quoting from my previous post, Of Humility and Gratitude:

Then I came to Japan. One of the first things I’ve learned about Japan is that the whole country is earthquake prone. Japan is basically a big rock , surrounded by water, sitting, actually almost floating, on top of larger blocks of rocks (tectonic plates), that are constantly in motion underwater. And yet, within the 8 or so years that I lived in Japan, although there have been lots of reported instances of light earthquakes in the region where I was, I can remember only one time when I actually felt an earthquake. It was brief and not at all shattering or devastating, but it was alarming enough for me.

I can’t even imagine how the victims are feeling over these devastating times. And I am embarrassed to admit that it almost always take their trials for me to look at my life and feel humbled, more appreciative and grateful. Thus I pray …

O Lord that lends me life,
(At all times) Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

~ Of Humility and Gratitude

The Xbox Leverage

leverage , n. positional advantage; power to act effectively

Fun with Xbox

Fun with Xbox

When my 4-year old Matthew started playing the Xbox, I’m glad that I have another one added to those things that I can use as a leverage over him. So when he wanted to play the Lego Indiana Jones Xbox Game, which we he had been playing for weeks now, this is my attempt to use the Xbox leverage :

Me to Matthew: Maybe, if you’ll eat the carrots, I’ll remember where I put the (Xbox) controllers.

I know this doesn’t make sense, but it might just work…

Matthew: Fine. I’ll just look for it myself. (moping)

Later, he still haven’t found the controllers, because I’m good at hiding stuffs .

Matthew: I’ll just watch ‘Indiana Jones’ the movie. (more moping!)

Okay, maybe the Xbox is not so effective after all. Or he’s just such a picky eater. He refuses to eat well even if it means doing what he wants to do. But I have used the Xbox to get him to want to brush his teeth and take a bath.

Now that we have the Wii, I can just imagine the added leverage on my part especially when we start getting those Wii games that Matthew will like to play.

How about you, what’s your leverage?

Choices, #3

Ocean or Forest?
Vanilla or Chocolate?
Train or Plane?
Leaves or Roots?
Chase a tornado or Hang on the cliff?

My choices are Ocean, most of the time Chocolate, Train and Roots.

If I had only these 2 things I have to do to choose from,
I think I’d rather hang on a cliff than chase a tornado.

Read Choices, #1 and Choices, #2.

Choices, #2

Classic or Contemporary or Country?
Swim or Hike?
Vertical or Horizontal?
Beatles or Elvis?
Choice or Destiny?

My choices are Contemporary, Hike, Vertical, Elvis and Choice.

Read Choices, #1.

Love is …

Of all the quotes or definition of ‘Love’ that you know, which is (are) the most true to you? Which is (are) your favorite(s)?

Love is a kind of bondage.

Love is never having to say you’re sorry.

Love is letting go.

Humor Me

Do you have a sense of humor?
Are you funny?

I can laugh at funny jokes and the-not-so funny jokes. If it’s a culture joke that I don’t get, if the joke is American or British, or whatever culture, it has to be explained to me. It can still be funny even if I don’t get it, because that means the joke is on me, and that is fine by me. I can take that.

What I can’t do is – relay a joke effectively. I can’t crack a joke! The more I try, the miserable I get! I’m so pathetic. But there are times when people, hubby especially, thinks I’m funny when that’s the least thing I’m trying to be.