Lists (and a $250 giveaway!)

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Intel.

Disclosure: Some weeks ago, BlogHer and Intel offered the opportunity to review the new Intel® Core™ i5 processor, wrapped up inside a new laptop and a really cool Intel® Wireless Display (a.k.a. WiDi) that I would get to keep. Read on and you’ll see why I was happy to do it. Then stay tuned next week for the actual review.

Life hasn’t been the same since September, when everything changed in an instant. Many of you know the reason for that. On one hand, so many things have been simplified for us. Less clothes to wash, no more of the usual clutter lying around, no growing stacks of old papers to put in their respective folders, and no more of those periodic basement and attic cleanings. It’s quite nice not to have to spend my free time tidying up. On the other hand, our days are now filled with new tasks—more pressing, time-sensitive demands—and a more urgent need for organization.

Within days of the fire, we were given a folder of information to help us with our insurance claim process. One of the first things our insurance agent told us was to start making a list of all the items we lost. We all knew this would be a monstrous list, but even monsters have to start somewhere. So, using a pad of paper given to us by our agent, I started listing everything that came to mind. Which, in my case, naturally meant I started with my camera equipment and the contents of our kitchen.


Then we started filling out pre-printed forms provided to us by our insurance agent. It wasn’t a simple matter of listing items; for each item, you have to indicate when and where you purchased it, the purchase price, and today’s cost if you were to replace the item. (I heard a long sigh there. Wait. That was me.)

Thinking that it might go a little faster if we worked on it together, we started listing items in our shed, since all three of us knew the contents of that area. It quickly grew to 4 pages, and we weren’t done yet. And that was just the shed.


It’s a daunting task. I can’t remember when or where I bought many of my favorite shoes and clothes. We still have wedding gifts that we stored away, not wanting them to break or saving them for a special occasion. How many different table napkins did I have? Bath towels? What were the books in our shelves?

There is something surreal about every single possession you have being reduced to a list, documented on a pile of forms. Writing them down to say that they existed, knowing nothing will bring them back. And it’s not something you attack from one section of the house to another. No, you don’t even go from one room to the next. You sit, take a deep breath, and in your mind, you open the top drawer of the corner table in your topmost, leftmost room, and start from there.

For us, that would be my nightstand. And I know I won’t be able to remember every shirt, every sweater, every sock that was in those drawers. 


When you experience this kind of loss, suddenly, all the worst possible scenarios become less unlikely. I think to myself now that if tragedy strikes once, it can certainly strike again. There are things you never imagine would ever happen to you, but once they do, it gives you a new sense of vulnerability. And as we continued building these lists and spending painful hours writing everything down, it occurred to us that we’d be better off doing this on a spreadsheet. What if something happens and all these forms are lost? I couldn’t bear the thought of having to start the list from scratch all over again. 

By this time, my mom had loaned us her laptop, so we were able to upload a spreadsheet to Google Documents. We‘d take turns editing whenever anyone had a spare moment, and slowly we started building our home inventory, confident that there will always be an online backup file just in case.

It’s been a slow process, but we’re plugging away. 

And so, instead of my former chore of picking up clutter, now I’m trying my best to remember what that clutter was, where I bought it, when, and for how much. It’s time-consuming and energy-consuming. And we need to get all this done while still keeping up with other responsibilities that need to continue, as well as additional items on our to-do list. Like getting more replacement identification documents. Looking at house plans. Keeping track of expenses and purchases for insurance purposes. Or even just doing vast amounts of research online, like trying to track down the exact iPod speakers I had that I loved (they’re no longer being made) or checking if my wedding china pattern is still available.

So when BlogHer offered the opportunity to test and review a laptop with the new Intel® Core™ i5 processor along with an Intel® Wireless Display (a.k.a. WiDi), I jumped on it. For one, it would be great for us not to have to share my mom’s laptop and take turns. The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology also promises to let me “Get more done faster,” and since I’d be happy with just the “done” part, the “faster” part made me think I just might have extra time now to actually bake something (Tim heartily supported that). Then being able to wirelessly connect to the TV so that all of us can look at the same screen without huddling over a small monitor? All I wanted to know was where to sign up. I know how good the Intel® Core™ i5 processors are. The new laptop that I lost in the fire had one.

Yes, I did remember to include that in the list, too.

So stay tuned for my review next week, and in the meantime, give your computer or your laptop a hug. For me. Because, as much as I love old school stuff, I just couldn’t do what I do now without one.


So here’s the deal. They’re letting me give one winner a $250 Visa gift card. Woohoo! How cool is that?

To enter, you may select two (2) of the following methods. Please enter no more than twice, and no duplicate comments. (Don’t worry, you’ll get 2 more chances on the review post coming up next week!) Comments from this post and next week’s review post will be combined and the winner will be picked via random draw.

  • Leave a comment below and tell me what frustrates you the most about your computer. Or maybe you love yours and it’s perfect for you. Wonderful! Then tell me what you like most about your machine. (Because I like geeky stuff like that.)
  • Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
  • Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
  • Read the official rules for an alternate form of entry.

Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST on December 22, 2010.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.

PLUS! BlogHer is also giving you 8 chances (that’s 2 chances every week) to win a new laptop. Yes, that’s right. Your very own laptop with the new Intel® Core™ i5 processor. Check out the round-up page at the exclusive offers page for those weekly chances to win a new laptop.

(Pssst. Don’t forget to check out the reviews from the other bloggers in the round-up page, too. You can enter their giveaways for even more chances to win a $250 Visa gift card!)



282 Responses to Lists (and a $250 giveaway!)
  1. Brenna Marie
    November 24, 2010 | 12:13 pm

    I love my laptop – Its older but lightening fast because of the solid state hard drive! Completely recommend investing a little more to get to SSHD.

    Praying for your healing process from the fire.

  2. Wendy
    November 24, 2010 | 12:15 pm

    My current computer is a wonderful HP desktop — and I am most frustrated that it is not a laptop. Of course, I bought it because it wasn’t a laptop, so that my shoulders would not ache from typing on the laptop keyboard. But now I want something smaller but just as fast and powerful…

  3. Lady Dorothy
    November 24, 2010 | 12:21 pm

    I like my laptop. It does everything I want it to do. I need to ORGANIZE it a bit better, though. :-)

  4. Tami D.
    November 24, 2010 | 12:21 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with my laptop, I love it because it is fast, but I hate it because I have to baby it and only I understand its moods!

  5. Jacqueline L.
    November 24, 2010 | 12:47 pm

    What I love most about my computer is the fact that he came with all the software & equipment that I needed for my music/video projects.

  6. Alejandra
    November 24, 2010 | 12:56 pm

    I love my laptop. It’s a new (refurbished) 17″ MacBook Pro that I finally broke down and bought after my previous (very old, very frustrating) one went kaput. It’s beautiful and I love it so no frustrations except that as it’s a Mac, I don’t have all the software I need for it yet. (Like Office) so if I won I’d use the gift card towards buying that.

  7. Karen Albro
    November 24, 2010 | 1:17 pm

    I am frustrated that I don’t have a laptop.

  8. LoveFeast Table
    November 24, 2010 | 1:34 pm

    Your new site looks lovely! Your pictures always shine!!
    As for the contest~
    I love my laptop…but I still have soooo much to learn on how to use it…I am not a techie…but I want to learn!! I need to take a class! I wouldn’t even begin to know how to make a spread sheet.

    I’m also so sorry for your losses…and hope the path ahead becomes smoother. ~Chris Ann

  9. nestra
    November 24, 2010 | 1:35 pm

    The times when it says that windows is not responding… makes me NUTS!

  10. LoveFeast Table
    November 24, 2010 | 1:41 pm

    Tweeted!! LoveFeast Check out the $250 Visa Card #GiveAway over at the @ivoryhut!

  11. Heidi
    November 24, 2010 | 1:42 pm

    Right now the only thing bugging me is this crappy mouse I have to use since my old mouse died two days ago :( I had an awesome gaming mouse that was so fantastic and now I’m using the one that came with my Dell. Ugh, gross. That isn’t saying that I’m happy with the rest of my computer though, just that the mouse is the first thing in my mind.

  12. Mama Mary
    November 24, 2010 | 1:44 pm

    I do not have a laptop…you know with kids….they always come first…..Mama is last…..I would love a laptop!!!!!!! I share my desktop with 3 kids…I have a HP desktop that is great…but a little slow.. What a cool Christmas gift it would be for me!!!!! I love your website!!!Hope you are on the road to bigger and better things!!

  13. Melanie K
    November 24, 2010 | 1:52 pm

    I love my desktop but would love the portability of a laptop…. I cannot imagine having to document every single thing I owned… staggering

  14. Brooke
    November 24, 2010 | 1:58 pm

    The little hiccups that happen only every now then – they happen when I’m busy though! I’m not a very computer savvy person so when even a little thing happens, I get frustrated.
    Thanks for the chance to win. I hope that you and your family and doing better – it’s amazing how friends through the internet are willing to help out those they’ve never even met.

  15. JenniferA
    November 24, 2010 | 2:12 pm

    Oh my. Good luck with your lists. I can’t even imagine what a daunting task that is.

    The most frustrating thing about my laptop is that it eats up power cords like an afterschool snack. I am on my 4th or 4th, and I’ve only had the computer 2.5 years. And those suckers are expensive to replace.

  16. JenniferA
    November 24, 2010 | 2:13 pm

    Tweeted it! :-)$250%20giveaway!)%20from%20@ivoryhut%20-%20!/breadandputter/status/7512052071403520

  17. Amy Schmucker
    November 24, 2010 | 2:20 pm

    I have a laptop. Its a really nice Gateway…I don’t use it. I can’t get online unless I have a special card from the phone store, the internal modem never worked. I am very happy to use my desktop Dell Intel Core 2 windows vista. I am on my home desktop all day long. The laptop was convinence for my Pampered Chef business. And for hubby to take to the reserves with him while he was away from home. We have two, no three desktops here in the office. The old HP is now the childrens computer, the two Dells are ours and the laptop is in a case in the closet.

  18. Rella (@RellaBellaK)
    November 24, 2010 | 2:22 pm

    I’m sorry for the loss of your house, but it sounds like you are finding the positive out of the experience.

    I bought a Lenovo last Cyber Monday, and I love it! It’s very light (although no optical drive, but I haven’t missed it).

  19. meeyeehere aka Rachel Crisman
    November 24, 2010 | 2:25 pm

    What I HATE about my computer is that its not even an off brand,my hubby made this computer over 10 years ago out of spare parts a few of his friends gave him.It’s completely made of old used parts,built from scratch pretty much.
    It doesn’t work well and is always falling apart. It is nice to have a husband who can fix it though.

  20. meeyeehere aka Rachel Crisman
    November 24, 2010 | 2:27 pm
  21. Michelle Maskaly
    November 24, 2010 | 2:27 pm

    I love my computer because it’s portable – what I don’t like … it constantly gives me error messages for no reason!

  22. Lisa @ all things * jane
    November 24, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    I own a laptop, which I have loved for over 4 years. The only issue I have is the ergonomics of the trackpad when designing on the couch…but I think that’s a personal problem. :-)

  23. Nicole
    November 24, 2010 | 2:43 pm

    Well my laptop/desktop is craptastic. Meaning=my husband had to break my laptop screen that didn’t work anyway and plug in my desktop screen to the hard drive of my laptop because my desktop took a poo and my laptop screen did at about the same time. So, I need this. If you could see what I am working on you’d laugh. Thanks for the contest! Nicole

  24. Sara Plays House
    November 24, 2010 | 2:45 pm

    I love my laptop–it runs on Linux so I always feel like the cool kid at the table. (Also, it hardly EVER crashes.)

  25. Amy in B-more
    November 24, 2010 | 2:46 pm

    My laptop is old, heavy, and slow, but it’s been good to me. It carried me through 3 years of law school and 1 year of unemployment (that’s a lot of cover letters). I’m ready to have a new one though (my requirements are: new, light, & fast) and I’ll be getting one for Christmas.

  26. megank
    November 24, 2010 | 2:59 pm

    I have a desktop & although it works great it takes up so much room!

    I also tweeted this @meganknox but can’t figure out how to get the URL!

  27. Kathryn
    November 24, 2010 | 3:11 pm

    I wish the battery was better! I hate having to keep my laptop plugged in!

  28. suzy
    November 24, 2010 | 3:15 pm

    i just bought a new macbook. so far, so good!

  29. Jamie S
    November 24, 2010 | 3:17 pm

    The biggest frustration with my computer is that it is…OLD! It is the laptop that WILL NOT DIE! But it is slow. I have had it for 8 years…that is ancient in laptop years! Once I spilled a liter of water on it and it died temporarily but came back to life after a week….once again, I swear it is the laptop that will not die, therefore I cannot get rid of it…yet :)

  30. Elizabeth
    November 24, 2010 | 3:28 pm

    I HATE how sometimes the mouse control on my laptop goes berserk and doesn’t work at all!

  31. zara a
    November 24, 2010 | 3:28 pm

    i love my laptop, would not be able to function a day without it. it is m connection… my window to the world.

  32. Jen @ Jen Spends
    November 24, 2010 | 3:37 pm

    Actually, I think I am pretty happy with my current computer! I bought the best that I could afford anticipating that I would be working from home doing graphic design. It still has a lot of room for expansion and works great! I suppose I could do with Windows 7 – I’m still on Vista.

  33. Chelsea
    November 24, 2010 | 3:41 pm

    I just got a new dell laptop. I really like it and haven’t found anything I don’t like about it. Very userfriendly and easy to navigate.

  34. Renee Wise
    November 24, 2010 | 3:44 pm

    My current laptop has been recalled. It was working perfectly until three days ago when it decided to go to laptop heaven. My frustration is do I go out and buy a new one or wait to see if I will be receiving a new computer from the company that recalled my dead one.

  35. Pat Winship
    November 24, 2010 | 3:59 pm

    My son builds all our desktop computers. I may be the only sixty-something woman in NJ who has a mod box. Both are capable of running any graphic-heavy game out there, and do. We do have Intel processors, and have found them to be exactly what we need. Naturally, with us, when a component gives out, we’re able to just buy a new one and replace it, rather than replacing the computer.

    The big Asus C-90 lappy, currently serving as our media center PC, is a desktop PC in a laptop package. It’s been a rock solid performer for the past three years.

  36. April
    November 24, 2010 | 4:00 pm

    What bugs me…hmmm. Mostly my computer is sufficiently fast, has enough hard drive space (for now) and I have a good sized monitor even though it is more than 2 years old. What bothers me more is my software glitches…specifically with Firefox. Not sure why it decides to “not respond” and then close, but that is probably my most annoying problemo!

  37. Sally
    November 24, 2010 | 4:00 pm

    The battery for my current laptop is pretty bad. It needs to be constantly plugged in, and even then, sometimes it doesn’t charge properly!

  38. KCloud
    November 24, 2010 | 4:02 pm

    My laptop gets hot and shuts down usually when I’m in the middle of watching grey’s or other shows. It can be really annoying!

  39. Andrea
    November 24, 2010 | 4:08 pm

    I was hating my laptop until I realized its issues were being caused by a faulty battery. Once that got fixed, we were best friends again. Just goes to show, sometimes seemingly difficult problems are simple to solve!

  40. Andrea
    November 24, 2010 | 4:12 pm
  41. Kris
    November 24, 2010 | 4:40 pm

    I have a love hate relationship with my computer. I’m still fascinated by the speed at which I can get information but I hate that when something goes wrong with it I need to depend on my son to figure it out.

  42. Amanda
    November 24, 2010 | 5:45 pm

    I really hate that when I load up my photo-editing software, it slooooowwwwwssss waaaayyyy down. But I like that my computer is a laptop, because I can take it wherever I go.

  43. Julie K
    November 24, 2010 | 5:46 pm

    I love my Mac O’S 10 -older but very fast. We have a huge monitor which is great for work.

  44. CKay
    November 24, 2010 | 6:02 pm

    We have an Apple laptop and a PC desktop. Umm well I don’t use either computer for technical fancy stuff but for my everyday needs I take the apple for the win! I love that it comes preloaded with great programs like iPhoto (I love the “faces” feature to sort friends and family photos). My only annoyance is that I can’t run certain windows programs without buying another program or adding extra hassle, but that’s what we use the desktop for so its all good.

  45. Sarah
    November 24, 2010 | 6:18 pm

    I like my laptop, but I dislike that the opener-tab-thingie on the front broke off and I have to open the laptop with a bobby pin. :)

  46. Wesley
    November 24, 2010 | 6:23 pm

    Your blog is pretty~

  47. dana
    November 24, 2010 | 6:25 pm

    I have a 5 year old laptop for work and it drives me crazy – there’s hardly any disk space left; it over heats; it feels slow as molasses …. need I say more

  48. Jenny
    November 24, 2010 | 6:47 pm

    I have a newer computer with Windows 7 and I’m still getting used to it a year later! Why mess with a good thing?

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about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

If you want to learn more about me, here are 43 things I'd like to do. Here's a little something about my name, in case you were wondering. Here are some other places you'll find me:

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.

I'm proud to belong to an amazing community of Filipino food lovers. Together, we celebrate this often-neglected Asian cuisine, sharing our family's treasured recipes and discovering new ones along the way. This is our club.
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