Friday, December 31, 2010

December 30: Gift --

This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

Maybe the best gift I got this year was from my youngest brother -- he gave me a Starbucks Planner.  He had to collect stamps in order to get it -- and he had to drink coffee in order to get the stamps.  And he doesn't really like coffee.

I love that he put effort into it (and he went beyond himself) to get me what I wanted.

I was also inspired by dear N's gifts (felt cookies for the kids and a small yellow felt fish clip for Anya) and C's gift (a bag made out of flour sacks and she gocco-ed a "logo" of her and her fiance) -- I love touching these objects and knowing that someone made them.

Lastly, dear F gave us 5 orchid plants -- so, so beautiful!  It really brings life to the house.  Our driver/gardener and I have already discussed how we will take care of these orchids and will propagate them in June so we will have more orchids come December.  I love that we have made future plans! ^_^

December 29: Defining Moment --

Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

I would like like to believe that I'm leaving 2010 a better person -- I am definitely different Tin now compared to the Tin in January 2010 but, whether the change is for the good remains to be seen.

I've learned to think for myself but I've also learned to listen to others.  My mom is a wonderful source of practical ideas (too practical sometimes) and my youngest brother is great to talk to when I need a different (neutral) perspective.

I think one defining moment for me happened this November.  I decided to treat myself to a little bit of luxury -- it made me feel really good.  Then I realized that that little bit of luxury didn't fit into my currently drab (almost stagnating) life so I decided to improve my life -- I'm taking more care in dressing and spending time pampering myself (read: moisturizing morning and evening).  Then I started to improve my health and I now walk about 2+km every morning.

I'm trying to encourage my family to do the same.  I've declared 2011 as the 20 "i" "i" year -- so it's the year of "me" -- I think it's nice that we take care of others (in my case, my kids and our household) but it's even better that we take time and take care of ourselves as well. ^_^

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Lists! --

5 Favorite Movies of 2010
1. Despicable Me
2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
3. Toy Story 3
4. Sherlock Holmes
5. The Sorcerer's Apprentice

... I didn't watch a lot of movies this year.

5 Favorite TV Shows
1. Glee
2. Nigella's Kitchen
3. Big Bang Theory
4. Doctor Who ... technically, we don't watch this on TV
5. Staging Invasion on Discovery TLC

5 Favorite Magazines
1. Yummy
2. Sunset
3. Real Simple
4. Style: Singapore <-- started when C gave me her copy 5. Romantic Times

5 Best Purchases for 2010
1. The iPad for my parents
2. The iPhone 4 for Johann
3. The Apple Composite Cable for the iPod 2G
4. My new wallet (which is coming in January)
5. Our World Traveler Luggage Set (really beautiful green in 3 sizes -- we can "nest" them so storage is so, so easy!)

5 Favorite Places in Iloilo
1. Eon Centennial (for their Mongolian Buffet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
2. Smallville (though we don't go there often -- I like the idea of having dinner in one place and then walking/"promenading" to another place for dessert)
3. Booksale
4. Tinapayan at Atrium
5. Days Hotel (for their Meshi Japanese Buffet every Wednesday)

5 Things That Made Me Go "Wow"
1. My friend Dexter's Moist Chocolate Cake <-- very moist, very chocolate-y 2. Book Depository!!!
3. My brother running (and finishing) the Tokyo Marathon
4. Mooon Steak at Mooon Cafe
5. Yangnyeoum Chicken at Shin Ramyon

... also the iPhone 4 <-- not really a discovery -- more of a revelation ... also the performance/yield of Philam Asset Management's Philam Fund <-- this also made my mom go "Wow"

5 Discoveries for 2010
1. Book Depository!!!
2. Doctor Who
3. Amelia Grey <-- her Rogue's Dynasty series is very, very good!
4. Yangnyeoum Chicken at Shin Ramyon
5. Crave Burgers!!!

... More lists tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28: Achieve --

What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

(Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

(My brother will frown when he reads this) I have a list of things that I want to buy for myself next year. They are all material things and I am very happy that I have made such a list -- it's motivating me to manage my family's money wisely and prudently, hoping that I can find a bit extra in the end to buy my beloved extavagances. It's also allowed me to prioritize my expenses -- I will not be traveling much this coming year -- maybe one big trip (or maybe not) and a few small trips ... because I want to use my travel money for said items. ^_^

I imagine feeling a sense of accomplishment that I've gotten what I've set out to get. I also imagine feeling restless, wondering what to do/get next. ^_^

December 27: Ordinary Joy --

Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)

It has to be my children's birthdays this year. My daughter turned 1 last March and we had a small celebration at one of our favorite restaurants here in Iloilo (Al Dente). Friends from Manila flew in for the celebration --

We had a guest list of about 50 people and it was so much fun! We were able to talk to everybody and enjoy the food.

My son turned 4 last June and he asked to have his birthday at the same restaurant (Al Dente!) -- on our way to his birthday lunch, we stopped by Toy Kingdom and asked him to choose which toy he wanted. (He chose a Thomas train set.)

Up to now, whenever we pass by the restaurant, he excitedly points to it and says he had a fun birthday there. (He wants his 5th birthday there as well.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 26: Soul Food --

What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

One of my favorite meals would have to be the binyag lunch for M's son -- it wasn't so much the food (but the food was amazing!) but the spirit of the day. Their whole family was there and you could feel the warmth of their relationship.

(It goes to show that you don't have to do everything over the top to make an event meaningful.)

My food discovery for the year would have to be yangnyeoum chicken. It is delicious and memorable. It's hot enough to make your lips tingle but not too hot that it makes you cry. The texture is a mix of crunch and gooeyness (from the chili sauce) --

December 25: Photo --

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
(Author: Tracey Clark)

I haven't really had a lot of pictures of myself taken this year -- I'm a little self-conscious about how I look.

There are two pictures I'd like to share:


My husband took this picture while we were waiting to get our hair cut. I like this picture because:

a. I'm reading.
b. I'm wearing one of my favorite skirts.
c. I look like I'm really engrossed in the book.

With 2 kids and a household to manage, I have very few moments where I can be this quiet and engaged in reading. I love finding these pockets of time for myself. ^_^


This second picture was taken just a few moments ago. I finally got my hair cut short and I love it. (I've been wearing my hair long for the past few months and I was getting tired of the weight and upkeep) --

I had it done on a whim -- on my way home from picking up the food and cake for our Christmas Eve dinner.

The curls from my last perm are still there and I love how unpredictable they are -- my hair actually looks like a flyaway mess but I love how lively it looks. ^_^

December 24: Everything's Ok --

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)

When my daughter got sick middle of this year, I thought the world was going to end. She had just turned 1 a few months before she got Kawasaki and I remember thinking she was too small, too young to handle such a terrible illness.

But she retained her spirit (and her spunk -- the nurses were so afraid to disturb her during the regular vital signs taking because she was so snappish) the whole time.

I realized then that, no matter how daunting or unknown the situation is, there is always a way out. It may not be easy or pleasant or inexpensive but there is always a way out.

The day after they administered the IVIG, my daughter was back -- and the first thing she wanted to do was to practice her walking (she had just started walking at around 11 months) --

I learned then that I should borrow some of my children's resilience --

The coming year is an exciting one: my daughter will be attending a toddler playgroup. My son will be in kindergarten this coming June. And the rest of the year is fuzzy still because I have not made plans (and it hasn't happened yet) -- but I think I can manage whatever comes my way.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 23: New Name --

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

I would still like to keep my name -- I think it's the one that fits me well. I would like to shed some old nicknames, though. (Am embarrassed to reveal them here)

December 22: Travel --

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

I went to Singapore with my sister and Seth in January. It was my son's first time abroad and he absolutely enjoyed the experience. (My parents don't think it's practical to bring them this young because they don't remember the experience -- but Seth does!)

After that, it was several short trips to Cebu (my favorite destination) and some trips to Manila.

I've discovered that I find it difficult to go to Manila with the 2 kids in tow (plus 2 yayas) -- we don't have a car in Manila and it's difficult to get a taxi and travel around with them.

For the coming year, I would like to see Korea and maybe re-visit Hong Kong. I'm thinking of where to bring Seth again (and maybe Anya if we travel later in the year) -- but the only country that I think is suitable is Singapore.

December 21: Future Self --

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

I would give myself the same advice I give myself every year -- allow yourself to be happy. Allow yourself to feel that you deserve the things that you have.

Five years from now, my kids will be older -- I think I would advice myself to be more patient and understanding of the changes that they will be going through (especially my son, who will be an almost-tween by then. Yikes!)

Dear 22-year old Tin,

You don't have a boyfriend yet -- and you won't be getting one until you turn 26.

There's plenty of time to be a "we" -- and, it will happen, trust me. Right now, I would like for you to focus on "me" --

Be patient and love yourself. Say yes to everything, especially when your friend C offers to paint you naked. That's probably the last you'll see yourself in that weight. (Don't worry, though -- your future body is fine. Capable of handling the children and the life that you have.)

Lastly, when you go off abroad this coming summer, don't just drink ginger ale at the pub. Try something new and adventurous.


Your 32-year old self

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 20: Beyond Avoidance --

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

I should have started losing all this pregnancy weight right after Anya was born. I am glad that I still fit into my current clothes but I am not happy about my flabby stomach that has lost all muscle.

Right now, I walk every morning and I'm being patient with myself. I know it isn't enough and I am thinking of doing something more (maybe yoga?) and I know it will take me time to lose all this extra weight. It took my 5 years to gain all of this. I am giving myself half that time to try to lost it all.

I hope to be in better shape next year. ^_^

December 19: Healing --

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

I don't think I've healed -- I am healing right now.

I would like to find some peace and consistency for 2011. I would like have a serene mind and a quiet heart -- one that isn't angry or annoyed all the time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bacon of the Month Club and then some other food-related thoughts --

I did not know that such a thing existed --

I thought bacon only came in one variety = delicious.

But it was featured in The Family Kitchen --

And, apparently, there's more than 1 club operating. Google clickety click!

* * *

Why I love Robinson's Supermarket --

I found the following cool food items there:

Maya Whole Wheat Pancake Mix (they use Muscovado! Yum!)

A different Coleslaw dressing! Very excited to make coleslaw! Yay! (And Double Cheddar Pasta sauce!)

* * *

Cake Pops! --

So, so cute!

And they are relatively easy to make!


Bakerella's Red Velvet Cake Ball Recipe.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 18: Try --

What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

My husband and I wanted to try the Mongolian Buffet at Eon Centennial -- and we sat on that for 2/3 of the year. We finally found the motivation to move our fat asses over there and gave it a try. And we loved it. It's one of my favorite buffets here in Iloilo.

I want to try to be a more open and available person next year. I want to try to reach out to people and form relationships. (Whitman's A Noiseless Patient Spider!!!)

I want to try to save up some money and buy myself a nice, extravagant treat in 2011. ^_^

December 17: Lesson Learned --

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

My favorite has to be from Gary Trudeau's interview with Reader's Digest (US Version) November 2010 issue. I forget how he said it, but the gist is: "It's Not About You."

I have had a lot of instances where I become indignant over something I perceive as a slight against me -- and then I remember that it is not about me. And it reminds me to park my ego and re-view the situation. Almost always, I realize that I am being selfish and I find a way to rememdy it.

I know the world does not revolve around me and I am not entitled to anything that I did not work for.

So, I will go out there and work for it. ^_^

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December 16: Friendship --

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

I have few friends in my life, but I am fortunate that they are all good friends.

Dear F, is my brother's friend but I "inherited" her and her husband because we are all based here in Iloilo. She's an amazing mom to her 3 kids and has such a wonderful, positive outlook --

In the years of our friendship, she has taught me to "react with love" to the most difficult things and people.

She is not afraid to embrace life and to enjoy it fully. Our last outing before she gave birth to her 3rd child, we went to Dulgie's and ordered 4 different desserts. I could not do this with any other person. (Maybe, G -- but she is in Singapore.) We ate, we talked -- I always come away from our meetings with lots of insight and strength.

And she is younger than me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

World Book Night: March 5, 2011 --

It would be lovely if they could do this worldwide.

World Book Night

December 15: 5 minutes --

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
(Author: Patti Digh)

1. My daughter's first birthday and baptism. Friends from Manila in Iloilo for the celebration. C watching TV and knitting during naptime. 1kg of bacon.

2. Text conversations with F about romance novels. Silly one line reviews of the books we've read.

3. Seth's first trip outside of the country. Singapore before Chinese New Year. Carlton Hotel breakfast buffet. Seth's own MRT card.

4. Mactan Shangri-la last October. The breakfast buffet. Discovering that I hate how sand feels. Discovering that I love being in the water surrounded by hungry fish. Spice Fusion with my cousin. Consuming 2 plates of naan.

5. Last Monday, December 13. Coffee at Bluejay's with a friend. 3 hour conversation. "We should do this more often."

6. Meeting B at Seattle's Best. 2 hour conversation. Grabbing the free coffee grounds at Starbucks afterwards.

7. My husband saying he will buy me a new wallet because my current wallet is so grotty. (I didn't even realize this -- made me realize that my husband is thoughtful and insightful in a way that complements me.)

8. Playdate with F and her kids. 4 kids + 3 yayas + a house with no breakables and lots of wide open spaces = total madness.

... 5 minutes over ...

Happiness is a bag of books --


This is beside my bed. I used to stack books on my bedside table but my backlog was getting taller and taller that I had to find a different way to store it.

I won the bag in Jennifer Haymore's contest last Christmas.


What's in the bag right now are:
- Books 2 and 3 of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy
- Tiffany Clare's debut novel
- Judith James' Libertine's Kiss
- some older titles that I've never read

Not in the bag are Books 2 and 3 of The Mysterious Benedict Society. ^_^ (See, I read non-romance also. ^_^)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14: Appreciate --

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

My family. I have a great support system around me --

I have a husband who understands my moods. (And who is able to see things that I have overlooked so all our bases are covered.)

I have kids who are so open about their love (and their complaints) --

I have a sister who listens to me.

I have parents who call every morning (sometimes too early, though) to check up on us.

I have brothers who don't blink even when I ask them to get me a bra at M&S.

Even my extended family is awesome.

My kids' ninongs and ninangs are amazing people who (I know) will inspire my kids to do the amazing things that they do.

The few friends I have here in Iloilo are so, so much fun and insightful.

I have not been able to show my appreciation to all these people. (I hope they know how much I appreciate them.)

December 13: Action --

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

I'm a list-maker -- and I try to do everything on my list. The list stays with me until I finish everything on it.

I have quite grand plans for next year -- and I've listed them all down already. I'm actually not waiting until the new year to start on my resolutions. I've started on them already.

I just hope I don't lose steam before I accomplish my plans for the year. ^_^

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Best Romance of 2010 (According to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) --

Article Found Here.

Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase (Avon, 2010)
Hot Finish by Erin McCarthy (Berkley, 2010)
The Summer of You by Kate Noble (Berkley, 2010)
Something About You by Julie James (Berkley, 2010)
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie (St Martin’s, 2010)
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey (Carina Press, 2010)
Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (Berkley, 2010)
Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (Harlequin, 2010)
His at Night by Sherry Thomas (Bantam, 2010)
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (EgmontUSA, 2010)
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss (Harlequin, 2010)
Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh (Berkley, 2010)
Scoundrel by Zoe Archer (Zebra/Kensington, 2010)
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins (HQN, 2010)
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (Berkley, 2010)
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews (Ace, 2010)
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne (Berkley, 2010)
Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Avon, 2010)

Naked Edge by Pamela Clare (Berkley, 2010)
Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton (Dreamspinner, 2010)
Seven Nights to Forever by Evangeline Collins (Berkley, 2010)

I've only read 3 books in the list. (I'm at a disadvantage because I only read historical romances.) I'm glad Sherry Thomas made the list -- I love all of her books!

Now I'm thinking of my choices for Best Romance of 2010. I'll probably write about it next week.

Here's Kirkus' list of the Best Children's and Teens Books for 2010.

December 12: Body Integration --

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
(Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I know what this feels like -- to have everything in place and everything just runs smoothly. It's exhilirating to feel that alive But I can't remember a moment when I felt like this this year. I am sure I have -- but I can't pull up a memory right now.

When I sit down with my kids to read or play, I feel a synergy between my mind and my heart -- it's wonderful to be in tune with the joy and wonder that's around you.

When I am out for my morning walk, there is an integration of mind and body. I walk, I plan the day, I walk.

But all at the same time? Hmmm...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 11: 11 Things --

(Yay! I've caught up!)

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
(Author: Sam Davidson)

1. About 30 pounds of weight. I can't use "post pregnancy" as an excuse anymore because Anya is almost 2.

2. Sugar. Not the white stuff because we don't really use sugar for anything. But the sugar content in the stuff me and my family eat. We're actually very vigilant and don't usually buy anything with more than 7g of sugar ... but the temptation of chocolates ... and Krispy Kreme ... and juice in tetra packs.

3. Negativity. I want next year to be about "yes" and "can do" --

4. Anger. I used to be very patient and very zen. Then I became intolerant and angry all the time. I want to find a good balance in my temperament. (And I will try to stop swearing so much.)

5. Silence. I don't listen to music that much -- and neither do the kids (which is why Seth is unfamiliar with Nursery Rhymes and stuff) -- I will try to change this for next year. I went my kids to be the loudest singers of Nursery Rhymes in their school.

6. Small, useless things -- I accummulate lots of these small things for 50 pesos and 100 pesos. They bring instant gratification and nothing more. When I look at all these small objects that are cluttering up drawers and shelves, I realize I could have pooled all that money and gotten myself something of greater value and use.

7. Frumpy clothes -- I have become a lazy dresser and I don't think too much about what I wear when I go out. I haven't bought anything for myself since January. (It's part of forgetting about myself: the weight, the dry skin, etc, etc) -- but I'm trying to take better care of myself and I've allocated time for myself every day. I have declared next year as "me" year. ^_~

8. Flat shoes -- I have 2 pairs of Crocs flats -- a pair of Cotton Pink Prima, which I've had for a very long time and a pair of Cotton Pink Malindi, which I bought last year. I think it's time I wore heels. (I am planning to buy one last pair of flats ... a pair of Crocs Lady. In Cotton Pink!)

9. (Too much) TV, Internet, iPod time -- the amount of time I spend on these things horrifies even me. I could have accomplished so much more if I could give up even 20% of the time I spend on these things.

10. My (over)dependence on my credit card -- Part of my new financial plan is to limit my use of my credit card. I've taken it for granted and have become careless with the decisions I make regarding my purchases. Hopefully, I'll be more prudent in what I spend my money on this coming year.

11. Ego -- sometimes I think I have all the answers and I refuse to admit that there is a better way of seeing/doing something. Thank goodness I have a husband, a sister and a mother who can shake some sense into me and there's God who reminds me weekly of the value of humility.

December 10: Wisdom --

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

I'm not sure if this is the wisest decision I've made but I know it's one of the best decisions I've made --

We put in some of our savings in a mutual fund and we are enjoying the yield of this decision this Christmas.

I really liked what our financial advisor at Philam said: "You worked hard for that money. Now let your money work hard for you." ^_^

I'm trying to be more careful with my family's finances -- having 2 small kids takes out a large chunk of our expenses every month and our savings suffer a bit. (Plus, we had Anya's illness early this year.)

I sat down and thought about this and I've discovered that I had been making a LOT of unnecessary spending so I've written down a better savings plan and I've been on it for the past 3 weeks now. So far, so good. ^_^

December 9: Party --

What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.
(Author: Shauna Reid)

I really enjoyed my friend M's baptism party for their son, Matthew. It was a mostly family affair and they invited some friends. They have a great family dynamic and it was so wonderful to see that.

That same evening, they celebrated his parents' birthdays -- his parents love to travel and that was the theme of the evening. They gave away luggage tags to all their guests.

They also showed pictures from all the trips they took. It was so, so cute seeing them pose in those cardboard cutouts where you stick your head in and then take a picture. It was fun to see Tito M and Tita L have a good time.

They own the restaurant/hotel where both parties were held and the food was amazing! They prepared stuff that were "off the menu" and it was such a wonderful treat! They cook a really, really amazing Fookien Fried Rice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 8: Beautifully Different --

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
(Author: Karen Walrond)

My thoughts and ideas have always been a little different from everyone else's -- and that used to worry me so much (thinking why I'm the only one who see's it that way) -- but I'm not so worried anymore -- because I have been told by my family and the few friends I have that they appreciate my unique point of view.

I've never seen myself as beautiful and have never been told that I was beautiful (except by my husband who is legally and spiritually obligated to believe it) -- so it comes as a bit of a surprise when people exclaim how pretty Anya is and how she looks like me.

I have never aspired to be beautiful or to be adored by many -- I have always strived to be comfortable in my skin -- lately, I haven't been feeling this. I've let myself go and I'm heavier ... and I feel it. And I don't like it. (Which is why I'm walking -- I haven't actually lost any weight -- but I feel better about myself.)

As for lighting people up -- I'm afraid I don't. I have always had a somber and serious disposition. (There was this home video of me and my cousins when I was 10 -- my cousins and my brothers were all laughing it up and I was standing to one side of the garden, quietly looking on.)

I have a cousin who does this -- light up the room when she's there -- and it's wonderful to be around her. (I visit her in Cebu just for this. ^_^)

I do wish I were the same way ... but I'm not. I don't mind it, though -- at least I have someone in my life who provides me with sunshine. ^_^

December 7: Community --

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
(Author: Cali Harris)

Online, I have always appreciated and enjoyed Newlyweds@Work -- I'm a little chagrined because my participation in the group is very sporadic -- but I read the list religiously and I reflect on the experiences of my fellow N@wies.

I've also enjoyed reading the interaction of my husband and his friends on Facebook. I don't have my own Facebook page (because I'm not a big fan of micro-blogging and I am already on 2 online venues: Blogger and Multiply and, etc.) -- it's amazing how that place has helped people to reconnect and to have an opportunity for small daily chats and such.

For 2011, I would like to participate more actively in my life here in Iloilo -- I'm still hovering on the fringes of (what was once) my community and am still struggling to find a way to get my big foot in the door -- but I am being patient and am biding my time.

December 6: Make --

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

I made my daughter's birthday invitations this year -- piece by piece. I didn't have all the necessary tools, but I made do.

I'm also trying to make a connection with some people here in Iloilo. It's depressing to be this isolated and alone -- so I'm trying to put myself out there and to renew ties again. ^_^

I'm most proud of all the cooking experiments our cook and I have been making -- some successful and some, not so.

December 5: Let Go --

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
(Author: Alice Bradley)

I let go of my fears this year. (I'm still trying to let go of them as we speak. ^_^)

It's so exhausting to be worried and afraid all of the time. I realized that I was 32 years old and I didn't want to be afraid anymore.

And I don't want to pass this fear on to my kids. (Seth sometimes gets anxious about things -- and I think he gets that from me.)

I would like to be more bold and "out there" -- but also careful. ^_^

December 4: Wonder --

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

This happens all the time when I am with my children.

It's wonderful to be able to see the world from their point of view. It's wonderful to be able to feel excitement about the world all over again.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

We interrupt the reflection with a letter to JackTV --

Dear JackTV,

Please get this show?

The Sing Off

Thank you!

Merry Christmas! ^_^

December 3: Moment --

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

It would have the day I woke up at 6am, put on the Nike Air Alaris (which my sister bought for me for my birthday last year and which I last wore in September 2009 when I went to Japan) and went out for a walk around our subdivision.

This was November 19, 2010. (The moment when I decided I would take care of myself better.)

That early in the morning, nothing's moving -- it's quiet and still -- it's still a bit dark and gray but you can also see a hint of pink and yellow flitting through the clouds.

I love that time of the morning -- it gives me a chance to collect myself for the day and to prepare myself for the lively activity in my house with my 2 kids.

Now I walk every morning -- at 6am. I have a lovely route, which our driver estimates to be around 2km. It takes me 30 minutes to complete the route and it's my most favorite time of the day. (In 2nd place would be when the kids are doing something productive and artistic.)

December 2: Writing --

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Reading! I'm glad to have finally gotten some headway into my reading backlog --

I don't think I would want to do away with reading because, when I finally have time to write, what I've read affects what I write in a wonderful way.

December 1: One Word --

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

2010 was my year of discovery. I discovered new (romance) authors to read. I discovered new recipes to try out. I discovered new colors to love (gray and yellow).

I also discovered what a mess I've made of my life and how careless I've become with things that should matter -- and I'm glad that I still have time to take control and make the necessary changes.

I would like 2011 to be my year of fulfillment -- the year where I would complete my MA and the year that will see the fruition of all the changes I've made in my life in 2010.

December Project! --

Am a week behind -- but I hope I can finish this. ^_^

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Last words (A mother dies) RIP Elizabeth Edwards --

I read the news that Elizabeth Edwards has died.

I recently read her Thanksgiving post (posted on her Facebook page) and I was inspired by her eloquence and her grace.

“You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces — my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.

The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.

It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.

With love, Elizabeth.”

(copied from here)

She was an incredibly strong woman -- who faced scrutiny for her husband's infidelity in the midst of her own discovery that she had cancer. I think she handled the last few (difficult) years of her life with grace and dignity.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas Wish/Want List! --

I love making my yearly Christmas Wish List.

It makes me focus and prioritize my "wants" for the coming year.

I think my yearly list also reflects what my interests are at the time I am writing said list.

Can you guess what the theme is this year? ^_^

1. I would love to get a necklace from Bear and the Honeybee. (Especially the Sweet Blue Daisy or the Sunshine Daisy)

2. A sewing machine from Manila Sewing. She had a Janome Elves a month ago and I missed out on it. I've been tempted by the QT by Merritt machine -- but there's a part of me that's holding out for a Janome.

This is a strange want for me because I don't sew and I don't know how to sew. Hahahahaha!

3. A smaller point-and-shoot. My Powershot A640 still works very well and I'm generally happy with the pictures I take using it. But I'd love a smaller, lighter point-and-shoot. I've been looking at the Canon Ixus 120 and 130.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can justify buying a new camera.

4. I want this bag from Kate Spade.

I don't really buy designer bags but, when I saw this one, I wanted to have it. There's a clutch version but it's way, way beyond my means.

5. More rubber stamps. And a stamp pad. And more blank paper to stamp on.

6. A food processor. It is mystifying how Nigella uses it for EVERYTHING. I want one also! (For the future, when I decide I want to make a crumb base for cheesecakes.)

7. A new Macbook (Pro? Air?). My current Macbook White has cracks and chips and whatnot. It's been stepped on and dropped by both kids. It's still alive. But I want a new one. ^_^

8. A subscription to Romantic Times. It's a great guide to new authors and to new releases.

I really should just get myself a subcription.

9. A tin of Old Bay seasoning. I've seen on many cooking shows that this is an essential ingredient in making anything seafood-related. (Crab Cakes, Seafood mix for sandwiches, etc)

10 A trip somewhere. (I want to travel with my friends F and her hubby and maybe have our kids tag along. Although that would be hellish. I would also love to travel with C.)

11. Books by Ina Garten. (The Barefoot Contessa.) She's my second favorite cooking show personality after Nigella.

12. A mini saddle bag from Cath Kidston. I was all set to have Johann buy me one in Singapore but the store that sells Cath Kidston is in Tanglin Mall and it was a bit out of the way for him.

13. A cute necklace from Gingersnaps. I don't think it's meant for someone like me -- but I've seen the designs and they are so, so cute! (I've seen the Alice in Wonderland-themed one. Very nice!)

Super fun website for Glee fans! --

What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Someone was thinking of me when they made this list --

I've written about this before, my love for stationery and office supplies and how I take time when I am traveling to visit stores that sell stationery and office supplies.

It used to be a practice for my siblings to bring home a blank notebook for me whenever they were out of the country as well.

I found this post on Facebook (through my husband's account) -- and the notebooks are all so awesome! >_< Spot.Ph 50 Cute Notebooks to Give Away this Christmas

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All set for 2011! --

I've been thinking about which 2011 planner to get. I was tempted to get a Moleskine because I am currently enjoying my Book Journal --

But I wanted a bit of color for the coming year so I ended up getting the 2011 Cath Kidston one.


It wasn't until it arrived (ordered it from The Book Depository) that I stumbled upon this one by Kate Spade.

Maybe for 2012? ^_^

Sunday lunch: Nigella's Chicken and Chorizo --

Nigella cooked this in one of her shows and I was intrigued by the dish. It seemed simple enough and I liked that it was a one-pot (pan) dish.

I bought all the ingredients when I did the grocery for the week and I asked our cook to prepare it for lunch today.


We used 2 kinds of "chorizo" (longganisa) -- a local one by Jester's and the Virginia Cebu longganisa.


We followed Nigella's instructions and cooked it for 1 hour. (We did tweak it a bit: We didn't squeeze in the juice of 1 orange and we pre-boiled our chicken before baking them. Plus, we didn't have enough red onions so we added some white onions.)

The whole thing looked so amazing! My sister and I were very excited to dig in.


The chicken was so tender and the potatoes were yummy -- a bit of crunch and char and then mush.


I love how the chorizo colored the chicken and everything else.

I could just imagine this recipe using Alaminos longganisa. That would probably taste amazing. ^_^

Nigella's Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

What I remember from the show is that Nigella had leftovers and she used the leftovers for a quesadilla -- she shredded the chicken and chopped up the chorizo and mushed up the potatoes and added some cheese.

(Our cook was so pleased with this recipe also. Not a lot of prep and very easy to remember.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Colors! --

Found this from J's blog --

Color Palette Generator

You choose a photograph and upload it on the website -- and it will generate a color palette based on that photo.



... I think I need to dress Seth up in brighter colors.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The start of something new --

It's almost the end of the year and I'm already gearing up for the yearly round-up of "bests" in my life --

To my eternal shame, I've discovered that I could not recall most of the books that I've read this year!

I realized that I've been treating books as a "disposable" commodity that I go through and then forget afterwards.

So I bought myself one of these:

And I've promised myself that I would jot down a thought or two about each book that I've finished reading.


This is my first book journal so I'm not familiar with the layout of other brands -- I'm pretty happy with the Moleskine one -- I love the star rating system at the bottom of the page.

What I don't like is the "telephone book" style of organizing titles alphabetically -- but Johann pointed out that it makes it easier to locate a book title. (I would prefer one that would just allow me to arrange titles chronologically.)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Why I love Iloilo Supermarket-Atrium --

Found these:



Johann wanted me to get the Dr. Pepper one --

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

World Teacher's Day Thoughts Part 1 --

Because yesterday was World Teacher's Day --

I consider myself fortunate that have had been surrounded by wonderful teachers my entire life.  I had teachers who nurtured me as I was growing up in elementary and teachers who taught me discipline when I was growing up too quickly in high school.

And then I got the opportunity of a lifetime when I attended the Ateneo and I had teachers who helped shape my vision for myself and for my future.

I can really say, at the risk of sounding maudlin and cliche, that I would not be who I am today if not for these many teachers who tirelessly shared themselves with brats like me.

E. Barrera (HS) -- 
I had a rebellious streak when I entered high school and was determined to make my life (and my teacher's lives) difficult -- he called me irascible and impetuous -- and proceeded to teach me what those words meant and how to spell them.

A few days before I was going to Manila, uncertain of which university to attend, he told me:  "Go to Ateneo.  You can thank me later."

It's later.  Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you.

M. Bermudo-Libutaque (HS) --
She was my Algebra teacher in Freshman year and later became my Senior class's adviser -- my most wonderful memory of her was sitting down one Saturday afternoon with a few other classmates, trying to make sense of Math ... in Chinese.

We were daunted and intimidated.  She wasn't.

We went back and forth, us translating the Chinese words for triangle, circle, radius, etc. -- she translating the language of Math into a more digestible format.

 In that afternoon, I learned that I can learn anything -- given the right attitude.

... to be continued.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Fulfilling dreams --

This time last year, Johann and I ticked off one thing on our places-to-visit list when we went to Japan.

This year, I've only travelled once (to Singapore) and have no plans to go anywhere for the rest of the year.  (Johann is going to Singapore in November.)

I'm already thinking about other places I'd love to see -- and I'm excited for the coming year. ^_^
1.  Hong Kong <-- I've been here a few times.  The last time was during my honeymoon ... and it was raining the entire time.  Johann and I were stuck in the Harbour City area and didn't really get to do much.  I was recently inspired by Dessert Comes First latest trip to Hong Kong and would like to go back there to give it another try.

2.  Taipei, Taiwan <-- I went there on a Boy/Girl Scout trip when I was in High School.  Taipei left a good impression on me and I'd love to visit again. ^_^

3.  South Korea

4.  Macau <-- Ever since I read C's entry on her trip there (and saw her pictures), I've always wanted to go.  Johann and my sister don't seem so enthusiastic about visiting this place, though.

5.  Grand Tour of Europe <-- this one, we are just waiting for the kids to be a little older before we leave them to their own devices for 2 months.

6.  Japan <-- probably Osaka the next time.  ^_^

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I'm craving burgers ...

I wonder why ...


The Mickey Mouse Burger charm hangs from my wallet and the Stitch charm hangs from my phone.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

More on The Book Depository --

There are 2 websites for The Book Depository --

A (dot)com website (which I assume is in the US)

and a (dot)co(dot)uk website (which is the original one based in the UK)

Both websites look the same and sell the same books.

BUT --

There are small price differences between the 2 websites.

Before you make your purchase, check both websites first!  -- and remember FREE worldwide shipping.
For example:

Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed by Tracy Anne Warren
.com price = $7.61 (SRP = $7.99) price = $7.89 (SRP = $10.77)

Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare
.com price = $7.19 (SRP = $7.99) price = $7.10 (SRP = $7.99)

* * *

My Book Depository Experience --

We ordered some books through the website on August 13.

The first book arrived on August 24 and the 2 other books arrived on August 26.

They were delivered directly to the house.  (A savings already since I didn't have to pay the 40 pesos handling fee when I claim Bookmooch-ed books at the parcel section of the post office.)

We were able to use the 10% discount (which ended yesterday) and I'm merrily reading my books now. ^_^

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yay! Happy update! --

Am so, so happy that The Book Depository now ships to the Philippines --

The Book Depository offers FREE worldwide delivery.

Yes, I said FREE.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Massage --

Living in Katipunan has spoiled me for life -- everything I need is just a few steps (well, more than a few) away --

One of my favorite places in Katipunan is the Natural Spa -- and I used to go fairly regularly.

When I came home to Iloilo, one of the first things I looked for was a spa --

Never found one that I was compelled to try --

But, a few days ago, I woke up with a really tired back and I was desperate for a massage -- we found a flyer for a massage-at-home service stuck to our gate --

Being fatalistic, we saw it as a sign and gave it a go.

We called the number and set an appointment.  I was pleased that the two masseuses arrived on time and they had their massage kits (with oils) ready.

A quiet hour of pampering costs PhP299.

And they are available 24/7!

There's another one that also offers home service -- will try them next time.

Home Bliss
Tel # 033-8564499

Friday, August 06, 2010

Lava Cake!!! --

It's a gloomy day here in Iloilo --

Thought it would be a perfect day to try to make Lava Cakes.  (Perfect for me -- poor helpers, though.  They have to clean up after me.  And it's raining.)

I used the recipe I found on Shine because it seemed like the most straightforward Lava Cake recipe I've encountered.

I started this morning by making the chocolate balls that will become the lava center --

Finished making the cake after lunch.


The recipe said it would take 13 minutes to cook.  We set the timer to 10 minutes and I asked one of our helpers to check on it.  I was surprised/worried when she called on the intercom a few minutes later to say that the timer had gone off but the cakes looked raw.  I rushed down stairs and took a look.

They were, thankfully, fine.


Only problem was that the chocolate balls were too big so a bit of the "lava" is peeking out from the top.

They're cooling right now so I'll take more pictures later when we actually eat them.

* * *

Apparently, it's already "later" --

Johann and my sister couldn't wait any longer and ate two of the lava cakes.  (Gave 1 to the helpers so they could have a taste.)


It's yummy -- I mixed dark and milk chocolate.  I'm not sure if it's gooey enough, though.  I wonder where I went wrong...


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Somewhere in this picture is a zucchini --

The infectious disease specialist who came to see Anya really loved our garden.  She told us her father in-law, who studied agriculture, maintains a vegetable garden also.  She sent over these really small zucchini from their garden.

They're so small!!!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Some recipes I want to try --

Bob Blumer's Chocolate Wontons

Lava Cake

Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake

This cheesecake recipe <-- I like the recipe that is listed on the Philly Cream Cheese box because it has sour cream but this one looks interesting.

Schweinhaxe <-- saw this featured on Anthony Bourdain.  I think pork is slowly replacing chicken as my favorite meat.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Wow --

I read in one news article on Yahoo that Chelsea Clinton and her husband were supposed to read this poem as part of their wedding ceremony --

I looked it up on Google and it made me go, "Wow" --

The Life That I Have by Leo Marks
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours. 

Wasn't that a lovely poem?

* * *

Another poem --

About 2 weeks ago, I was feeling really sh*tty about myself -- as usual, I overthought the situation and felt like my brain was going to burst.

Long story short: I felt like my high school self and I felt all the awkwardness and gauche-ness that comes with being that age.  And it annoyed me to feel like that because I'm 32 years old and should have overcome all that.

Anyhoo, a dear friend was kind enough to listen to me through my pity party --

And then an off-tangent idea came to mind and it was this poem:

Bonsai by Edith Tiempo
All that I love
I fold over once
And once again
And keep in a box
Or a slit in a hollow post
Or in my shoe.

All that I love?

Why, yes, but for the moment -
And for all time, both.
Something that folds and keeps easy,
Son's note, or Dad's one gaudy tie,
A roto picture of a young queen,
A blue Indian shawls, even
A money bill.

It's utter sublimation,
A feat, this heart's control
Moment to moment
To scale all love down
To a cupped hand's size,

Till seashells are broken pieces
From God's own bright teeth,
And life and love are real
Things you can run and
Breathless hand over
To the merest child.

I'm fine now, by the way.  ^_^

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Funny thing --

Johann and I celebrated our 5th anniversary last July 23 --

I had the idea of asking our friend, C (who was going to Singapore) to buy a copy of SFX for Johann.  (It's one of his favorite magazines.)

I didn't tell him because it was going to be a surprise.

What I didn't know is that Johann had also asked C to buy some M&M Peanut Butter for me.

He didn't tell me because it was going to be a surprise also.


* * *

Postponed anniversary --

We had planned to watch a movie and have dinner at the newly-opened Mandarin Tea Garden inside SM City on our anniversary but we had to postpone our plans indefinitely --

Anya's yaya's mom was sick so the yaya had to go home.  It turned out that the mom had typhoid so the yaya is currently on quarantine for 2 weeks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top 10 Uses for Nutella

Article here.

My favorite is to mix Peanut Butter and Nutella on a sandwich -- great energy boost and a really yummy way to greet the morning. ^_^

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I love you, Steven Moffat --

When Johann started watching Doctor Who, I resisted.  I don't like very long series that I have to catch up with -- and it takes forever to find the previous series/episodes.

This was the case with Doctor Who.  We came in at Season 5 with the 11th doctor (Matt Smith) and had to scramble and find Seasons 1 to 4.  Thankfully, Amazon UK has this amazing boxed set which was on sale -- and we bought it.

And we've been spending an hour or two every afternoon watching an episode or two of Doctor Who.

But I digress -- Johann's been squealing about Doctor Who for about a month now and I've ignored it -- until one afternoon, when he watched The Vampires of Venice.  We had to stop halfway through because he needed to go back to work.

I was stuck at home -- dying to find out how the episode ended.  So I did.  By myself.

Then I watched The Girl in the Fireplace.  And now I am hooked.

(Here is where Steven Moffat comes in.)

My sister and I have an uncanny ability to love directors/writers without knowing them.  Apparently, even from our younger days, we've unknowingly followed Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

Such was the case with Steven Moffat, who wrote The Girl in the Fireplace and several other episodes of Doctor Who.

I've shared Doctor Who with a few friends and I always recommend a Steven Moffat episode for them to watch --

Russell T. Davies who was responsible for jumpstarting the show in the 21st century has stepped down after Doctor Who Season 4 and Steven Moffat is now "running the show" --

For the curious, here are the episodes of Doctor Who which Steven Moffat has written (so far):
1. The Empty Child
2. The Doctor Dances
3. The Girl in the Fireplace
4. Blink <-- Carey Mulligan guest stars in this one
5. Silence in the Library
6. Forest of the Dead
7. The End of Time Part 2 <-- uncredited
8. The Eleventh Hour
9. The Beast Below
10. Victory of the Daleks
11. The Time of Angels
12. Flesh and Stone
13. The Pandorica Opens
14. The Big Bang

Titles in bold are Season 5 episodes.

He also wrote Time Crash -- a five-minute Doctor Who "episode" which was shown for a charity benefit show.

Information gotten from IMDB.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A reason to be in the UK in February 2011 --

SFX Weekender
Camber Sands, East Sussex
February 4 and 5, 2011

George Takei is going!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Weird Pringles flavor --

Found at the supermarket --

Lemon & Sesame
Blueberry & Hazelnut

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I want!!! --

I don't craft or do scrapbooks --

But the acquisitive in me wants to get this.

Cuttlebug Machine for Die-Cutting and Embossing with Bonus Tool Kit

It's a Cuttlebug Machine.  It's currently less than $60 for the machine.

World, don't get this for me.  I wouldn't know what to do with it when I get it.

Photos! --

Johann got the Hipstamatic App for his phone and he's been taking pretty pictures with it.

I really like this picture he took of me.  (Yes, I'm reading a romance novel.  Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter.  Very nice story!)  We were waiting for our haircut appointment at the Korean Hair Salon in Ledesco.


The slippers I am wearing have a very interesting story -- and they only cost 40 pesos.

I had a perm when I went to Tokyo last September and the curls are gone now.  I'm thinking of getting another perm at the Korean Hair Salon and I found this picture in one of the magazines there.  I showed it to the owner and she told me that I could probably get it done next month when my hair is the correct length.


I'm really excited to get it done!  (I wonder how it will look with all my grey/white hair.  Hahaha!)

Photos of the kids using the Hipstamatic in my other blog.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Epic fail morning --

The concept sounded sound -- cream cheese and blueberry in pancake --

The initial plan was just to swirl blueberry topping into the pancake batter but I read a recipe that mixed cream cheese in pancake batter.

I figured I could mix both into the same pancake batter.  (Did I mention it's a whole wheat pancake mix?  Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Mix Pancake & Waffle, 10 Grain 26 oz)

It looked pretty but the inside was still mushy and wet --


See the lovely fleck of cream cheese?

Mushy inside! T_T


Good thing we had bread.

At the same time, Johann decided to experiment on the proportion of coffee grounds (Yes, C, we "brew" our own coffee now. ^_^)  And the coffee was too weak -- and we had put in the same amount of condensed milk into our cups.  Our coffee tasted like warm sweet milk.

This does not bode well for the rest of the day ...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

It works! --

I read that you can "recover" scratched discs using metal polish.  Article here.

I tried it on one of Seth's Little Einstein's discs -- a lot of the shallow scratches disappeared -- the deeper ones are still there -- the most important thing is that the disc doesn't skip or pixelate anymore when we play it.

Caveat:  Don't try this on super expensive/super rare discs.  We only tried the metal polish yesterday and we don't know about long-term effects.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Afraid of yeast --

I stumbled upon this recipe on -- the concept sounds simple and I was going to give it a try.

I have all the ingredients ready (went to the supermarket and got them) -- but I can't find the ... courage to make them.

I'm a little intimidated by the whole yeast rising thing.  (What if it doesn't rise?  What if I bake it wrong?)

The ingredients and the recipe have been waiting patiently for over a month now -- initially, I reasoned that I didn't have enough time.

This afternoon, I had already asked my sister to watch Anya while she was sleeping so I could start on the dough.

And then I decided not to.

So I'm sitting here, with the recipe in the window tab beside this blog entry, wondering when I'll have the confidence to make them.

* * *

Jealous of my younger brother  --

My youngest brother came home from Japan (for good) bringing with him all sorts of yummy gadgets -- he has this wonderful breadmaker that can make bread in 4 hours.

When I was in Manila, he baked a loaf for our parents and they raved about how good it was.

I have a friend who works in the same department at their university who mentioned my brother's bread no less than 3 times in the span of a 2-hour conversation.  (A conversation where we were supposed to catch up on our lives and not discuss my brother's bread.  Grumblegrumblegrumble.)

He also has this amazing microwave/"real oven" combo that sits on the counter.  It's that small -- but it can bake things properly.  Like pizza!

And he's making his own yogurt.


Meanwhile, I've subjected the people in our house to a really chewy dinner of beef stir-fry.  The beef was so, so tough that the table was so, so quiet because everybody was just focusing on chewing it.

Movies --

Movies we've missed --
1.  Toy Story 3
2.  The Karate Kid
3.  The A-Team <-- though I am NOT a fan of Bradley Cooper
4.  Shrek Forever After
5.  Prince of Persia <-- I really wanted to watch this one
6.  Robin Hood

Movies I'd like to watch but we'll most likely miss watching on the big screen --
1.  Eclipse
2.  The Last Airbender
3.  The Sorcerer's Apprentice
4.  Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

In the meantime, we are busy watching the first 4 seasons of Doctor Who.  And we are still busy debating about whether we like David Tennant or Matt Smith better.  (No question on the sidekick -- we both like Amy Pond.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sort of back --

When your child gets sick and you are stuck in the hospital for days on end, life changes somewhat --

Your entire being is focused on one space -- and on one tiny little being in the process of recovering.

And even when you get out of the hospital, one forgets to breathe during the countless days of watching and waiting for things to either get better or to get worse.

I'd like to think that we're over that obstacle/gigantic mountain/impenetrable fog and now we are moving on --

And I am always and eternally thankful for the people I have around me -- for my husband who knows that I need to go out and have time for myself, for my sister who knows that helping me with my books is helping me with my life, for my children who know that silly dancing can improve everyone's mood, and for friends near and far who touch base now and then.

* * *

Cute site --

Thanks, C, for sharing this --

Hot Guys Reading Books

I discovered a new words, thanks to the site -- adorkable -- =^_^=

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book buying --

It amuses my friends that I read romance novels almost full time.

Yesterday, I surprised one of them by actually going to National Bookstore and buying a *gasp!* non-romance novel title --

I've been curious about Stieg Larsson's series and, with my National Bookstore discount card, I was able to purchase the first book in the series cheaply.

It's going to be my airport reading later -- and I'm wondering if I should cover the book up in my lovely Ouran High School Host Club book cover or display it proudly to the world.

In romance novel news, I just finished 2 books from Patricia Rice's Magic series (Malcolm Women + Ives Men):  Merely Magic and The Trouble with Magic.  I have the last book in the series waiting for me in Iloilo.

I'm glad she has a new book slated for release this coming July.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Current guilty pleasure: Magazines --

It started late last year, when I received an email from informing me that the subscription to Real Simple was on sale for $5 -- (that's less than $0.50 per issue) --

Real Simple (1-year)

Shipping is restricted to the United States but, if you have someone who can receive the issues for you, it's really worth it.

Right now, the sale is for game magazines:
$5 for a one-year subscription to Nintendo Power or to the X-Box or Playstation magazine!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Check this event out:

Manila International Storytelling Festival --

It's going to be in November 2010.

The website still features last year's event -- but, based on the information that's listed there, it looks to be an interesting event. ^_^

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Games for the iPod Touch? --

So, I finished playing Crystal Defenders and Plants vs Zombies on the iPod --

One night, I was so bored, I finished the Highlights Hidden Picture app -- (am just waiting for the free picture pack for May ...)

And I'm playing Settlers of Catan right now --

But I'm in the market for new games --

Suggestions please?

(Stuff that's on the iPod now:  Cluedo, Tradewinds, Cooking Mama, Trivial Pursuit, Game of Life, Farm Frenzy, The Settlers, Build-a-lot, plus a shedload of games for Seth.)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Cup Noodles --

We currently have a box of Curry Cup Noodles that my brother sent home in a balikbayan box.

His friends mentioned that there's even Cheese Curry Cup Noodles and it's actually delicious. O_O

I decided to look online and stumbled upon these very *ahem* interesting flavors:

Milk Seafood Cup Noodles!


Chili Tomato Cup Noodles!


My personal favorite is the plain Cup Noodle or the plain Seafood Cup Noodle. ^_^

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Busy in the kitchen --

Johann and I have been busy trying to fulfill our kitchen dreams -- trying to cook up our versions of favorite restaurant dishes

Last week, we decided to go for it --

I started out with Eggplant Parmesan, which is one of my favorites at Sbarro's -- I knew the basics: eggplants, tomatoes and cheese -- but I never thought to try cooking it until I spotted lovely eggplants being sold at Iloilo Supermart-Atrium.  They had these amazing "Black Beauty" eggplants from Baguio and I bought a couple.



The eggplants turned out really well and even our helpers enjoyed it.  (They suffer try out all the food experiments that I do.) --

Inspired by my success, Johann decided it was time for us (read: me -- with supervision from him) to make French Onion soup.

We didn't have white wine or sherry, which all recipes call for so we went with the basic ingredients: onions and a mix of chicken and beef broth.

We topped it with store-bought garlic bread (baguette) from Tinapayan and drowned the whole thing in mozzarella --



It was really, really yummy!  We made it twice the same day!

Next on my list is carrot cake.  I just want to make carrot cake so I can make a double batch of cream cheese frosting and eat that. =^_^=

Now, to get the mixer, the cake pan, and the rest of the things I need to bake the cake.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

I think I want a sewing machine --

I don't know how to sew --

But I would like to get a sewing machine so I could try to learn how to sew --

I want to make fabric book covers so I can read my romance novels in public --

According to Martha Stewart, this is the best one for beginners:

Singer Simple 16-stitch Sewing Machine, 3116
Isn't it cute? ^_^

It's $74.95 on Amazon.

* * *

Other things I think I want --

Fuji Instax Mini 7s Choco

- Fuji Instax Mini
They used to sell these locally but I guess they stopped selling them because of poor sales.

- A new digital camera.  I really love the advertisement for the new Ixus with the miniaturizing feature.

- More rubber stamps and stamp pads.  I really love the stamps from Kodomo no Kao.  I bought some when I was in Tokyo.