Italian Pine Trees | Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius

Pompeii, Naples Italy
Guided Group Tour

The Pine trees in Italy caught my attention. The trees, because of their shape, are called Umbrella Pine, Italian Stone Pine or Parasol Pine. I've been seeing these trees all over, so I was curious.  The tour guide explained: "They do not grow like these on there own.  Look closer and you'll see where branches were cut as the tree grows.  Maintaining the shape of the trees like this had been a tradition since the Renaissance period."  Frankly, I think they are gorgeous this way.  I wonder if the pine-trees in my native home, Baguio City (Philippines), could also be pruned like this?  There's an abundance of these trees in the Mediterranean and is quite popular because of it's delicious pine nuts.  I was not introduced to pine nuts until I came to New Brunswick and lived with a family of Macedonian descent.  So, the pine tree we have in the Philippines is probably of a different kind?

Excited crowds were moving along the narrow cobbled pathway in Pompeii.  Like everyone else, I was eagerly taking pictures.  Hubby felt something fall on his head... bird poof?  We were alarmed.  He touched it and it was sticky like super glue - pine tree sap!  I teased, "you can keep it, smells so good."  I was not lying.  But he was too uncomfortable to admire it - "Hubby got sapped," was the joke of the day :)

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A Tree Planted by Streams of Water

Psalm 1:1-3 for Sunday Sketches
My niece and I had an assignment for our weekly Bible Study meetings.  How can we draw close to God?  One way is by daily reading and meditating on God's love letter to us, the Scriptures.  How can we talk about the Scriptures in a way that would benefit a little girl?  Since it was to be presented as a little skit/dialogue, we pretended that we were drawing just like we usually do on our regular baby sitting days...  good use of visual aids in teaching :-)

We read the Scriptures first, then based on what we read, I asked her to make a drawing.  The above drawing is her interpretation.

"Happy is the man who does not walk according to the advice of the wicked
And does not stand on the path of sinners
And does not sit in the seat of scoffers.
 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah,
And he reads His law in an undertone day and night.
 He will be like a tree planted by streams of water,
A tree that produces fruit in its season,
The foliage of which does not wither.
And everything he does will succeed."
Psalm 1:1-3

If we daily nourish ourselves with the water that flows from God's Words, the Bible, if we would meditate on it so as to apply it in our lives, we will become wise.  We will fill our reservoir of knowledge and strength, so that when we are faced with adversities, we have something to draw from that will enable us to act wisely. 


Granted, reading and understanding the Bible can be difficult at times, it's size may be daunting.  But take courage, we have help.  For example, is a rich source of Bible based information that can help us.  By using this kind and generous provision, we can be like the healthy, luxurious tree planted by streams of water.

Do you have a favorite Scripture/Passage?

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Sailing Back In Time

A little Filipina sails the Mediterranean, yay!

I hope you have enjoyed my recent posts about my visit to Pompeii | Naples, Italy the last couple of days ("oh my, you only posted like... everyday!" lol... :D )

A few days ago, I was inspired to share a part of my adventures in Rome [320 Steps to a Great View]. European tours are always exciting, isn't it?  So, why not?  In the next few days/weeks, I thought I would share with you more - bits and pieces of this unforgettable, hopefully  to be repeated adventure.  I will have plenty to share until I finally save for a new camera {Yup, sad... my camera is malfunctioning. Hopefully it won't take very long, do you have any part-time jobs for me? *wink*}

The above photo was the beginning of a great adventure.  When we (barely)planned for this trip, I have just received my Canadian Citizenship.  Hubby and I wanted to celebrate by crossing the border to the States; American Dream, here I come.  Wohoo!   Well, what do we know? God is ever gracious and kind, He gave me a greater blessing, much greater than what I could have ever imagined - a Mediterranean Cruise!  Europe!  {Pinch me.  I must be dreaming.  NO, it really happened.... You see, for a poor Pilipino girl, this is almost impossible.  Ouch!  Stop pinching, I'm awake! hahaha...}.

I hope that you would 'sail with me' in the next few more days.  In this cruise we saw, we came and we conquered.  Welcome aboard Maya's Cruise Ship!  Toot!  Toot!  ( :D = *big grin* )


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"To go, please." | Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius
Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius
Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius

Previous article: Frozen in Time

"Think fast food is a modern day invention?"  our tour guide asks.  "Think again..." he continued after a suspenseful pause, pointing to stalls with 'refurbished' counters of marble with round brick holes.  I thought that it was: 'Fast food' is a modern day invention created to cater busy lives.  Well, wrong.

The streets and passage ways of Pompeii were made out of huge hewn rocks.  One of the many feats of ancient engineering that boggles the mind.  These streets were busy, bustling with people.  Horse drawn carriages are frequent on these streets, so frequent that indents are observable on the solid rocks.  Streets are believed to be cleaned daily with gushing water.  People burdened with goods cross the streets often,  elevated rocks were used as stepping-stones to keep their feet dry.  The tour guide pointed to two interesting things on the hewn rocks: a deep hole and what seems to be a religious symbol (deity Talmud?)  The deep hole holds a pole in place, somewhere to tie up the horses. 

And the religious symbol?   "To parents with their kids with them,"  the tour guide says, "I leave it to your discretion if you and your kids want to continue on this part of the tour.  If not, you can wait outside." Turns out, it is 'something else' that is shaped as an arrow.  It points to the direction of the brothel.  "How do you know it's a brother?" a father asked.  The answer: "Oh, it's not hard to see."  He's right, the camera is tucked away :-)  A historical tour can motivate time to reflect on the origins of our beliefs, eh?

Tradesmen, gladiators, people of all  ranks thrive in this city; sailors come for some respite... and they're hungry!

Bread was discovered on the unearthed oven, one of the most excellently preserved finds of Pompeii.
The holes you see on counters are filled with hot rocks; designed to keep hot a pot containing food or beverage.  Money was discovered on a jar placed on one of the holes and an image of Prosperity and of Commerce deities were found closest to it.  I could imagine one of the hungry gladiators, or a cute little child order some food; the seller asks: "To stay or to go?"  That could might as well be the case.  Grab some food and they're on their way in the streets of Pompeii...

Next article:  Italian Pine Trees

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Pompeii's Warning | Naples, Italy

Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius
Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius
Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius
Pompeii Naples Italy Mt Vesuvius

Staring at these human forms seemed to be disrespectful, made me feel quite uneasy.  So I snapped a photo and left... Waah!!! I'm staring at them right now! :( They used to live a life like we do.  Now they are on display as objects of astonishment.  The lessons are powerful though.  I wonder, many centuries from now, would the 'post modern' world excavate our remains and study them?  What would we teach them? hmh?
Studies concluded that the people of Pompeii died from asphyxiation and heat caused by the gases from the erupting volcano.  Fine ash fell like fluffy snow on the bodies, too light to make any change on the flesh nor the clothing.  The ash dried up before the bodies could decompose.  In time, cavities were formed. When plaster is injected into the cavity, the result is a perfectly preserved human shape.

Stories can be inferred as to how a certain person died based on their positions.  What hurts is this:  Some must have already escaped the fatal fate of the city but because of their love for their possessions, they came back to retrieve some.  But there were no second chances. A body was found on the street with his money bag, another with coin scattered all about him...

In the face of disaster, instead of concerning themselves on how they can save their lives and the lives of others, people try to salvage their belongings and looters take advantage to try and enrich themselves.  The city was obviously being buried by ash at this point when thieves tried to make an opening on the wall.  For how could they miss the door only two feet away?  How much time and effort would it have taken to make this hole on a feet-thick wall?  Could they have ran away alive instead?

Clearly, one's life does not result from the things he possesses.

Mount Vesuvius is a live volcano.  It may in the future erupt again... what would the inhabitants do when they receive a warning?  We face many disasters all over the world today... If we get a warning, will we heed it?

Next:  "To go, please!" |  Pompeian Fast Food and Streets

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Frozen In Time | Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii was a great example of Roman life - neither rich nor poor - it was a booming trading city. 79 AD marked its cataclysmic end.

Of all the archaeological sites and museums we were visiting in our Mediterranean adventure, I looked forward to this the most.  How were the remains of the people preserved like that?  What was life like back then?  How does it look like in person?  The internet is overflowing with Pompeii pictures. I even found an  intriguing documentary on You.Tube; and of course, the movie that dramatically portrayed a love story that made its inhabitants so real.  I want to be there.  I want to see it for myself.

The wind was nippy, the day cloudy.  Once in a while the sun peeps through the clouds and we'd see some blue sky and nice sunshine. There were many tourists, everyone excited, most people snapping pictures just like me.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and humorous.  I think that played a lot in my enjoyment of the experience.  Without consciousness of the past - the story behind, the meaning of a certain ruin or a remain - I think it would have been just pile of stones.  What an eerie perspective turned out to be the most enjoyable part of my tour.

Next: Pompeii's Warning

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Stairs | St. Peter's, Rome

St Peters Basicilica Rome
St Peters Basicilica Rome
St Peters Basicilica Rome
St Peters Basicilica Rome
St Peters Basicilica Rome

St Peter's Basilica, Rome

For the sake of a great view in Rome, we tackled 320 steps in the very narrow staircase of the St Peters Basilica.  The steps were so narrow that once you start on the path, there is no going back, literally! There's just no space to allow for two way traffic.  It's a real test of endurance.  [Warning:  It's not for those afraid of enclosed spaces.  Is claustrophobic the word?]  Oh, those shell shaped stair cases are fun...  and dizzying, I can't tell the end of it.  Hubby at times needed to dock or bend his head on one side so that he can pass through.  He has a really funny photo going through the shell stairs but he doesn't want me to post it :p  Thankfully, somewhere along the straight narrow staircase, there are windows with a little landing where tiny me could fit and recollect some strength.  Hubby has to block the way for a bit, but the others behind didn't mind.  I guess they are also glad to breathe a little without being blamed for stopping traffic.  You know you've come to the top when finally, the stairs widen out.  If you made it on top, going down is a walk in the park :-)

It was hard, my knees were really trembling after (oooh, need some exercise, they're screaming "not fit!, not fit!")  But I think that it's really worth it in the end.  The view was spectacular. {Yes, even on a cloudy, rainy day.}  You know that surreal feeling when you say: "I can't believe I'm here?"  That's me! each breath at that lovely height.


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This post was inspired by Our Beautiful Word - Theme: Stairs

Mally Professional Gel Nails System | Nail Art

See me sporting my gel polish which lasted until I had to remove it.  {Fancy taking a nailfie at one of Canada's best tourist spot?}

First of all, love the pink carrying case, not only is it handy and organized its also really feminine.

The LED lamp is sooo pretty.  My first thought is, "It looks like a crystal chandelier!"  It also has a timer for 30, 60 and 90 seconds.  In the process, the 90 second timer is not used (I wonder what it is for then.)   My other LED lamp goes for 30 seconds only so sometimes I turn it on twice. Hence, the 60 second timer is very convenient.  The packaging is very nice too... The grey, aluminum like bottles are elegant {in my opinion} (don't know exactly what they are made off.)

The finger-soaker is handy for removing the polish.  I like this kind of soaker because of the palm support.  I use a little glass bowl which works very well, but the support is nice, more relaxing. This would use up more acetone, though. and more skin surface will be exposed to the chemical.  If you have some assistance, wrapping fingers with cotton and aluminum foil is preferable.  On your own, it can be time consuming and tedious versus pour-and-soak...  Yes, I cut-out my own foils and little pieces of cotton for soak-off.  This takes a little patience, unless you purchase the ready made ones which are expeeeeensive!  On the other hand soaking would be easier, and the gel polish breaks down faster.  Too bad it came with only one soaker. Soaking both hands at the same time would have been a lot more convenient and time saving.  If you would decide to buy another, I think it's very affordable on Ebay.

This is my first look at the Mally Professional Gel Care system. I have the Finger Paints Gel Polish System.  Please visit that review to see my thoughts on DIY gel polish, I strongly think that Mally and Finger Paints are comparable in quality and durability on the nails, as well as the process of use.  The difference is, if you could get a friend buy this set for you, Mally is cheaper.

How long does it last? The gap between my cuticle and the polish is the obvious reminder that the manicure had to be redone.  Otherwise, just as Mally herself puts it, "It's bullet proof." {*wink*}  Oh, the durability also depends on how rough/gentle you are with your hands and fingernails (duh :p). I had two full weeks without any chips, longer if I allowed it, versus my friend only had it pretty for a week.

This set was a gift from a dear friend.  It can be purchased online (only in the US) at the current price of $180.00.  For that price, it would be more affordable and more sanitary to do your own gel polish versus going to the salon {unless you like being pampered, which I do like}

Here's what's included in the system:

  • 1.10-fl-oz Nail Surface Cleanser
  • 0.34-fl-oz Nail Prep
  • 0.32-fl-oz Gel Primer
  • 0.28-fl-oz Base Coat
  • 0.28-fl-oz Top Coat
  • 0.23-fl-oz nail color in Aristocrat, a soft mauve
  • 0.23-fl-oz nail color in Big Apple, a candy apple red
  • 0.23-fl-oz nail color in Mally's Baby, a soft glittery pink
  • 0.23-fl-oz nail color in Tutu, a beige pink
  • 0.29-fl-oz Cuticle Oil
  • Stainless Steel Cuticle Tool
  • Double-sided nail file
  • LED lamp
  • 100 lint-free wipes
  • Two Soak-Off Gel Polish Removers, 4-fl-oz each
  • One remover bowl
  • Carrying case
  • DVD and instructional tip card
  • Measurements: Lamp 6-3/8"L x 4-1/4"D x 4"H, 46"L cord; Case 11-1/2"L x 8-1/2"D x 6-1/4"H

Cafe C'est La Vie

Cafe C'est La Vie is one of my favorite cafes in the downtown Moncton.  It's the perfect spot to fuel my imagination (my own tea house);  or a corner inviting quiet time after a long walk with my elderly friend;  they also have outdoor sitting perfect for mindless people-watching... (is that rude?).  Support for local artists is shown in the cafe; artwork around the cafe changes very frequently to help showcase talent from the city.  Musical bands and reading groups frequently perform there as well.

I like how they prepare their homemade ginger tea.  Some may not agree but I like seeing those little pieces of ginger in my cup.  This cafe, despite the French name (great coffee and coffee products I heard), is owned by a Korean family.  That means, there's also traditional Korean food available to order besides French specialty coffees and desserts;  of course, there's loose-leaf tea - that is always a winner for me. 

Cafe C'est La Vie is located in Main Street, downtown Moncton.

What is your favorite beverage?


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What's Your Favorite Cafe?

I think we may have found our favorite cafe here in Moncton,
with the wish that someday I would set foot on France (someday, maybe),
I shall be content (for now) with this pretty little French patisserie close to home {*mischievous laughter*}

"Pleasant dreams may come true,
it can happen to you,
when you're young at heart."


The Citizen Soldier | Public Gardens, Halifax

The Citizen Soldier fountain, a statue erected as a memorial for the Boer War, is found at the Public Gardens in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  It is situated in a little pond amid a weeping tree (Weeping European Beech tree) and elm (Camperdown Elm) that provides a lot of shade.  I think it's a perfect spot to bring a book with, some tea and enjoy precious quiet time.  The sound of the water is very soothing.  Often, there would be a lovely birds bathing in the water.  A nice sight.


Nova Scotia

Just in case you missed these post:

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Under the Tea Tree

The Tea Tree
Pleasant memories under the tea tree.
For Sunday Sketches

Tea is from a tree!  It's a tree!
Most of you might already know that.
Here's my story.

Roses, Teacups and Random Pleasant Words

Roses and Tea Cups

"How sweet it is to be loved by you..."
I sing this happy tune while I think about summer with its bright, cheerful and clear days that are so beautiful I wish they would never end.  How lovely are the skies as a background for these sweet, sweet roses huh?  I placed some of the roses in a small vase and I carried them around the house with me in a tray along with my tea.