Uncategorized Category

WoW Philippines!

August 7th, 2010 by Liz in Uncategorized


Our House by the Bay

As you all well know, Ric and I love to travel.  We’ve been around; seen some really great sights, tasted amazing cuisines, and met interesting people.  Well today I want to share some of that with you…

I am writing this from the balcony of our lovely seaside villa in the Philippines, in full view of one of the most beautiful bays in the world that breathes the fresh ocean mist on my face mixed with the intoxicating sweet scent of tropical flowers <g>.

Yes folks, I’m in the unspoiled paradise called the Philippines- that tiny speck of a country in Southeast Asia.  Truth to tell, I can’t believe I’m here right now.  People have warned me not to go, with talks of terrorists, kidnappers and whatnot.  But I have to say, the Philippines is an amazing country.  I can’t even begin to tell you why.  And it’s so surprising that this piece of heaven gets very little promotion despite its incredible tourism potential.

First thing we see in the morning.

For starters, it has more than 7,000 islands.  I’ve just been to 5 cities on 2 of the islands and already I’m awestruck.  Ric and I love the exotic food.  The kids can’t stop raving about the water sports – from diving off of waterfalls in the crystal clear mountain rivers of the interior to snorkeling in the pristine beaches and bays, or kayaking out to the floating slide that is moored in the bay right off of our front dock – its been love at first sight, and second, and third…  But what strikes me most are the people who are just so lovely and friendly.

I can go on and on.  But I should reserve my Philippine travel blog to another time.  

Enjoying all these, the culture, food, sights, Ric and I are once again reminded of how blessed we are to be able to explore nature’s magnificence.

The world is a book

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Decades ago, this quote would’ve sounded really “insensitive” because only a few could afford to travel back then. Traveling was considered a luxury.  

Things have changed so much. Now, we have budget airlines, packaged holidays, and backpackers’ hotels, which have made traveling within everyman’s means.  Even teenagers can afford long-haul travel.  

Chandler at the Beach

While I believe it’s still true that it is best to explore the world when you are young (and when you’re middle aged, and when you’re old, and do we ever have to stop….?), it’s even more true that one of the secrets of staying young is to travel.  Being a stranger in a strange land, you are bound to experience everything for the first time.  First time to ride a water buffalo (Stefan, our 5-year-old, had an AMAZING time driving his first water-buffalo-powered ox cart. He really sat next to the driver and helped hold the reins – but HE thought he was driving).  First time to taste duck embryo or balut (OK I confess – this is one “delicacy” I’ve decided to pass on, but who knows- YOU might like it <g>).  First time to speak a new language.  

Think of that moment when you did something for the first time.  Quite exhilarating isn’t it?

Next chapter, Europe

Our time here in the Philippines has truly been amazing – and I’m sure I’ll have a few more things to report before we leave in early October.  But all of these things wouldn’t have been possible if not for our very helpful Filipino friends who facilitated our extensive travel planning.


If there’s one thing Ric and I have learned in planning a meaningful trip, it is to always “ask the locals”.  After all, a “meaningful” trip means learning about the country’s people and culture – not just doing a 26-countries-and-215-monuments-in-36-hours sort of experience. So we make an extra effort to avoid five star hotels (with the exception of the occasional weekend getaway), crowded sites, and other touristy places.  We always remind ourselves that we are travelers, not tourists.

After the tropics, we are headed home to Virginia for a few months then off to the snowy slopes of Europe <g>.  

And before heading to Europe next February, we would like to ask our friends from there to help us plan our trip.   We would love to do all the “snow and winter stuff” with the boys that first month, then spend the next few months enjoying Spring in the warmer areas of the Continent.

We know we’ve got a lot of choices in front of us so we’re asking for our help…

As a guideline, we are not fans of packaged tours, which means we don’t stay in hotels and resorts.  If you could suggest a charming cottage or inn in a town, that would be great.  We want to spend time with the locals to experience their culture, customs and of course their food.

I’m also looking at brushing up on my French, both the language and the cuisine.  I’m embarrassed to admit my high school and college French is getting a little rusty and my French cuisine could use a little “refining” <g>.  You may also throw in suggestions on where I could expand my Italian repertoire.

Aside from these, we would love to discover Europe’s best kept secrets which we won’t find in a packaged tour.  What are your hometown’s tucked away places?  Any side trips we should consider?  How about your most sacred sites or revered places?

Of course we are also looking forward to that European winter holiday. But we don’t have a clear idea yet what an ideal European winter vacation would be like.  I would love to hear what you have to say. The boys are raring to ski the slopes. What is the best place where we can pick up skiing lessons?

I would definitely appreciate your suggestions and advice.  Let me know by sharing your ideas here.

In the meantime, the South China Sea beckons.  May you all have the best of life’s journey. <g>


Looking Inside the Thompsons’ Holiday

December 5th, 2009 by Liz in Uncategorized

Hello everyone!

I think I’m STILL stuffed from all the food we had for our Thanksgiving last week!  As you may very well know, our family loves to live well and eat well. <g> And there is no dieting going on here since Christmas and the other winter holidays are just around the corner. For us that means another round of delicious meals and family gatherings.

Yes, I always end up doing most of the kitchen work <g>, but it’s fun and I really enjoy it – lucky for me so does Ric, our boys Chandler and Stefan, and pretty much everyone else in our extended families.

[RIC] Liz just does the cooking, the boys and I do all the cleaning –and trust me, Liz loves cooking a whole lot more than we love cleaning, but since we get to eat Liz’s cooking it all works out.

The Tradition

Every year for the past 12 years or so we’ve gotten together with our extended families and friends for either Thanksgiving or Christmas – sometimes if I’m feeling REALLY crazy – I do both.

These feasts usually have between 12 and 20 people in attendance depending on which side of the family it is and what friends can make it.  So to make my life easier for the past few years, we’ve adopted a fun new “tradition” where I compile a list of options for the holiday menu and let everyone vote on what we’ll serve. Everyone who is attending gets to participate and vote — men, women, children — everyone gets in the game.

It gets pretty spirited and often becomes very intense! Debates are not uncommon, especially on the finer points of the rules — can we have more than one choice per category; should all family members be allowed to vote, including the four-legged ones; and other technicalities that they try to bring to the table.

In case you’re curious, I have the final say in these matters. I‘m the judge, jury, court of appeals and of course, the chef. Last year my parents were trying to be able to get extra votes for their dogs for our Thanksgiving feast.  I said only 2-legged family members were allowed to vote so they “filed an appeal” claiming I was discriminating against “4-leggedness”.  I of course heard the appeal, but since my docket was full, the case didn’t get heard until January. <g>  Final ruling – only 2-legged family members can vote.

The Challenge

You are probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this. Well there’re really 2 reasons.  One is it’s just another way for me to further share my life with you.  And two it just so happens that I want you to be a part of this year’s process.

You see we’re spicing things up this year by trying something new.  This year Chandler turns 13 on the 20th of December – so we’re doing our big family gathering to celebrate that.  Which will leave the 4 of us (Ric, Chandler, Stefan, and myself) to have the first quiet family Christmas that either of our boys can remember.  Everyone LOVES the voting system so much so that no one wanted to let it go.  But it just doesn’t make sense for only 4 of us.

So here’s the deal – we thought wouldn’t it be fun and exciting, to open it up to YOU and let you help us to choose what we should donate to the food bank for the holiday meal. Now, the menu below is what our family voted on for Christmas dinner last year and we can use the same options for this year.

The stakes are definitely bigger this time though. Not only do you get to participate in our little tradition, you’ll also get to win a prize!

The Prizes

Aside from the pleasure of participating in how we live life and enjoy our holiday traditions (as well as doing some good by supporting a food bank), you’ll get a chance to win some of our products.

A digital copy of my book, “Successisms,” will go to those who participate.

A copy of the course I wrote, “The Science of Creating Your Dreams,” will go the Grand Prize winner. (This is normally worth $147, but you’ll get it for FREE!)

Who knows? You might even be featured here in our blog to share your own holiday traditions with everyone.

How exciting is this? I can feel my palms itching to do this already.

The Voting

Get ready to tease your palate and put in your votes. Remember, you can only vote once, and this is strictly for two-legged voters only, so no four-legged family members may be involved. <g>

Lastly, as with any good election worth participating in, you can suggest other choices that you really want but don’t see here.

I am looking forward to your votes! This is going to be another mouth-watering and exciting Christmas dinner, I can just feel it now – and it’s for a fantastic cause!

Do you have your own holiday traditions you want to share with us? Send me a comment below.

Happy voting!

Introducing Adaire Mercer

October 21st, 2009 by Liz in Uncategorized

Hello everyone,

I’ve invited Adaire Mercer, to write for Make More, Live More, Give More from time to time. She’ll actually be a mainstay blogger – just to spice things up. But I’ll still be doing my regular posting so you’ll still hear from me.

Adaire is a writer by profession and she’ll just give her two cents on various topics related to the blog. So watch out for her unbiased opinions.

Anyway, please say hello to Adaire and give her a warm welcome in the comments section below.

Let me start…

Welcome Adaire!