Monday, April 29

Fashion: DVF x GapKids Round 2

Diane von Furstenberg and GapKids got together again in a Limited Edition Explorers Collection. The prints are refreshing and colorful. There are new cuts and accessories available too. Visit Gap to learn more.

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Thursday, April 25

Food: Early Bird Breakfast Club

My in-laws always try to celebrate each of our birthdays (every one up to the grandkids) by having dinner out together. Because we usually have around 10 people in our party, 16 if we're complete every time, we seldom find a restaurant that makes every one happy with the food and service. Every single time, we get bad food, bad service, and sometimes, even both. I shall not mention those restaurants here because I strive to keep this blog happy and positive. *smile*

We found a cute restaurant tucked in a little secret (or maybe not-so-secret anymore) spot at the Strip area of Global City a couple of weeks back. It's called Early Bird Breakfast Club. My husband and I love eating breakfast food any time of the day. We tried it one afternoon, and we loved the coziness and the food. We loved the place so much that we decided to have dinner here with the family on my birthday. I was secretly scared that bad service for a dinner party as big as ours might ruin it forever for me. But I really was cheering them on in my mind. They did not disappoint. I am so glad they broke our birthday dinner curse of bad service and bad food. I couldn't be happier.

The first thing I noticed is their interiors. This full wall mural on the right side when you come in. The teal wall color is adorned by a whimsy white outline illustration of birds and foliage. If you want a casual and intimate seating for two, choose the tables located on this side. The tables are a bit small if you are planning to order lots, but they are perfect for coffee and snacks. Don't you just love the colorful herringbone pattern on the chairs? They perfectly complement the wall.

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Wednesday, April 24

Event: Mezza Norte

I am a foodie by heart. What can I say? I love food. If you're like me, try to visit Mezza Norte at Trinoma this May. I hope to see you there.

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Mezza Norte, Quezon City’s premier food and lifestyle food market, is making the big move to Ayala Malls’ Trinoma starting May 3, Friday.

From the same organizers who brought you Midnight Mercato at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and Cucina Andare in Glorietta Park, Makati, Mezza Norte at Trinoma brings together great tasting and affordable home-cooked food, pastry and dessert finds from the kitchens of Quezon City and your favorite Mercato Centrale favorite food vendors.

Join the opening night of Mezza Norte on May 3 at 6pm for great food, great music and great fun! Mezza Norte is located at the Mindanao Open Parking lot of Trinoma, at the corner of Mindanao Avenue and North Avenue, Quezon City. It will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to 3am.

Mercato Centrale has been the birthplace of many great food entrepreneurs including Manang’s Chicken, Mochiko, Chuck’s Grubberie, Merry Moo Premium Ice Cream, Inutak, Zen Taclings among others.

If you are an aspiring food entrepreneur, we invite you to join Mezza Norte. For inquiries, please contact (+63917)840-1152 or (+632)812-0102 or email
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Tuesday, April 23

Crafts/DIY: Origami Dresses

I've been itching to do these paper dresses. Anyway, without further ado, here they are. Aren't they cute? They're pretty easy to do. The links for the directions are at the bottom if you like to try them.

Here are the links to the how-tos:
Evening Dress by Fumiaki Shingu
Origami Dress from Inklings and Yarns

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Monday, April 22

Home: Mrs. Meyers and I

Happy Earth day people (and happy birthday to me)!

Today, I'd like to share one of my many obsessions in cleaning products. I have always been a fan of Mrs. Meyers since I discovered them back in the States. They are a line of cleaning products that does wonders to your home and smells so refreshing. My favorite scent is Lemon Verbena. It is very energizing, and it leaves your home smelling fresh and clean.

This bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Countertop Spray works well for bathrooms and kitchen. It is bleach and ammonia-free, so it is pretty much gentle on your beloved surfaces. The bottles are 25% post-consumer plastics and they don't test on animals.

There are plenty of other scents you can choose from, just in case this one doesn't float your boat.

Until April 22, Mrs. Meyers is offering free shipping to everyone (contiguous US only -- bummer for me, but yay for you). So come on and shop. It's time to get ready for spring cleaning if you haven't done that yet. 

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Thursday, April 18

Love: Dove Real Beauty Sketches

When I first watched this video, I was moved -- moved because what it says is true. Women are their own worst critics. They focus on their flaws, and they tend to disregard their own beauty. This video by Dove just proves it.

Go on, watch it for yourself.

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Tuesday, April 16

Food: Good Food Zood

This is one of our serendipitous finds in Bangkok. It was our first day (or night I should say), and we just checked in at our hotel, and we decided to go to the mall to have dinner. We went to Central Plaza, which was about a five-minute ride from Hotel de Bangkok.

The restaurants were on the upper floors -- a ploy from mall designers to make you pass all the stores at the bottom. Well, it worked. We had to go through Cath Kidston first. Haha.

When we finally decided that prolonging our hunger was out of the question, we zoomed up towards the topmost level and picked our first restaurant at Bangkok. We chose Zood Noodle.

It has a casual vibe right from the entrance. They had this cute DIY yellow chandelier made from spoons with a kettle dangling at the center.

The glass displays an array of vintage-looking vehicles and a few quirky robots.

I love the way they decorated the space. They even made use of this divider to display cute yellow-tone pitchers and glasses.

Here's another DIYable piece -- a floor lamp with the same yellow-tone glasses and pitchers.

Forget about the other menu items, just order this: Seaweed Shrimp Pad Thai. This take on the traditional Pad Thai is one of the best I've had. Instead of flat rice noodles, they used seaweed noodles. There's this certain crunch to it, a bit similar to eating jellyfish in Chinese restaurants. Ever since I tasted this, I've been on the lookout for some seaweed noodles. I'd love to have this again.

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Sunday, April 14

Shopping: Cath Kidston in Bangkok

It was my first time visiting a Cath Kidston store. The store itself was such an eye candy even from the outside. They used the aqua and red combination, one of my favorites. The red doors make it more inviting. The beech floors, floral motif, white ceiling, ample lighting and brightly colored walls complete the Cath Kidston interior.

Their window displays some of their bestseller bags.

I can spend a day inside the store. There are so many cute things! Aside from the bags, look at the tea sets and tin canisters. The stuffed bears are also adorable. Yes, they also have sewing accessories, umbrellas, and ribbons. 

Please open a Cath Kidston store na in Manila. :) For now, go visit their website on this link. Enjoy!
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Friday, April 12

Travel: Arriving at Bangkok (Again)

Yes, but this time, sans the tour. A couple of friends and I went to Bangkok for the shopping and eating perks that Thailand has to offer. Haha. That is all we did. Eventually though, in between mall-hopping and Thai food heavens, we had to stop and go for a foot massage.

Going to Bangkok from DMI Airport in Clark was a no-biggie for us, even if it was about an hour and thirty minutes away from the city. The airport in Manila is terrible. I hope they really fix Manila's airport though, complete with a convenient transportation system from different parts of the city. Hmm, or maybe build a better and bigger airport outside the city. Clark's is still pretty small.

Anyway, we didn't have any problems with our airline, which was Sea Air / Tiger Airways. We departed Clark on time, and we arrived in Bangkok on time. The only thing that bugged me was that our seats were in front of the exit row, which means we weren't able to recline our seats! I didn't know that, and nothing on the airline website had that info. If I had, I would have chosen another seat. Sigh. Good thing it was just a short flight.

Bangkok's airport had artworks on their walls like this one. So pretty.

The airport link (train) in the airport was still open when we arrived so we decided to take that. They had these chips as the ticket. No need for paper tickets that you just throw away. Less garbage!

Taking the train was a lot cheaper than taking a cab. There was a station 5 minutes away from our hotel (Hotel de Bangkok), but we had big luggages (for shopping) so it took us twice the time. Here is the lounge area of our hotel. We were welcomed with a glass of cold pandan tea. Yummy!

This was the same hotel I stayed at during my Bangkok trip last year. My sisters and I were pretty satisfied with the service. They had free Wi-Fi (a must for us) and free buffet breakfast. The mattresses were just a tad bit hard, but it was okay overall. Every day, we had the concierge call a cab to take us the market or the mall, wherever we wanted.

For us, this is a great value hotel because of  its distance to the Pratunam shopping area. Haha! It's also about 30 minutes away from Chatuchak weekend market and some of the major tourist attractions (Grand Palace and Buddha temples).

Hotel de Bangkok
133/48 Ratchaprarop Road, 
Ratchaprarop Soi 12, 
+66(0) 2642 5911-4
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Wednesday, April 10

Food: O'Mai Khan Mongolian Buffet

Just from the name is spelled, you know it's Mongolian. But having Ilocano relatives, I know that the meaning of the word 'omaykan' is "let's go".

We had lunch here when we arrived at Baguio City. The last time I ate at O'Mai Khan was ages ago, and their location was still at a small area beside a government agency in the city.

It is very homey inside. The windows are open and you can feel the cool breeze of the mountains.

They are known for their Mongolian buffet, and that is what we came in for, although, we also ordered some hot pot for our soup. It's perfect for the cool weather of Baguio. (Starts at P170 for one)

We also got some strawberry shake. Hmm, I expected it to be delicious, but it wasn't THAT good. It tasted like there was a mix of soda in it. Maybe the strawberries weren't that fresh.

But enough of that. Let's get ready to get our mix! Like any other Mongolian buffet places, you fill your bowl with raw ingredients, mix in your choice of sauce, then have them stir fry your order. You first get your choice of meat -- pork, chicken, beef, fish or mix it up if you want. The vegetables looked very fresh, just what you would expect from Baguio.

The sauce mix was a trial and error for me when I first ate here. I didn't know how to cook then yet, but now, I know exactly what to put -- 1 part teriyaki sauce, 1 part oyster sauce, 1/2 part brown sugar, 1/2 part chili oil, and 1/2 part peanuts. The best part was it was an all-you-can-eat feast for only P220. So inexpensive.

Make sure you leave room for this amazing dessert okay? I swear, it's heavenly. Lemon Cheesecake for the win! (P80)

Here is their menu.

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Tuesday, April 9

Food: The Speculoos Hype

Yes folks. I seriously think Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter is just a hype. I had a couple of jars sent through the goodness of my friend from LA because these things are expensive here in Manila.

I tried the Crunchy Cookie Butter first, so I get to taste both the crunchy biscuit and the actual cookie butter, ala two-in-one. I toasted some slices of white bread, and then spread a thin layer of the Crunchy Cookie Butter.

It is really good. Y-U-M-M-Y. But it's not something I would pay an arm and leg for what it's worth. Maybe because it's not something new to me. The Speculoos Cookie Butter is made from Speculoos cookies, which are caramelized cinnamon spiced Belgian cookies. They taste like Biscoff cookies, and I always eat Biscoff when I ride Delta. Yep, either that or salted peanuts on domestic flights. Haha. I always go for Biscoff.

So anyway, if you want to get a taste of cookie butter, I know they are available in a few specialty stores in Manila:

* The Food Bin beside Wham Burgers in Katipunan
* Milky Way in Makati
* The Blue Kitchen in Shangri-La

Or, if you really want to save money, go on and make your own. Here are some promising recipes:

* Betty Crocker's Cookie Butter
Averie Cooks' Homemade Cookie Butter Peanut Butter
* So Take That!'s Homemade Cookie Butter Gluten-Free

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Monday, April 8

Travel: Up on the Mountains

Holy Week in Manila means almost all places are closed, traffic is somewhat non-existent, and everyone is leaving the city. People usually leave on Holy Wednesday and come back Easter. Well, like any other family leaving in the metro -- except for a few who stayed behind because of makeup classes in school -- we went to my parents' farm, and decided to continue up north and get a feel of cooler air in the mountains of Baguio.

We avoided the toxic traffic Wednesday by leaving the day before and headed to Pangasinan for the night. It's always a treat when we go to the farm. We get to stay in the main house.

In the morning, we wake up to this amazing sight and sound of the koi pond.

We get to hang out in the lanai. Sometimes, we eat breakfast there too.

We went up to Baguio after breakfast. It took about 2 hours.

The Lion on the way up was jam-packed with people and cars. First-time visitors always stop here and take pictures.

It was lunchtime when we arrived. We stopped at O'mai Khan for a Mongolian style lunch. Incidentally, the restaurant's name is a play on an Ilocano word that means "Let's go!" (edited). I'll go into detail about this place in another post.

After a hearty meal, we headed on to Baguio Country Club to check in. While waiting, we bought some yummy raisin bread (theirs is better than those from Bag of Beans in Tagaytay). We stayed in one of their cottages, which is really a 3-bedroom vacation house. The location is amazing, but I really think the place needs renovation and maintenance if they want to keep a steady flow of clients. They should really upgrade the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the paint (omg the paint).

Check out the wall behind Allie. Not only is it peach (eek!), but it's terra fresco faux finished (double eek!). Okay, I'm sorry if I offended some people, but it really makes the whole house feel soo old and dingy. It was still an okay stay nonetheless. Anyway, Allie loves the rocking chair in the living room. She chose her own outfit in this photo, and she loves her Naraya bag so much, she doesn't let it out of her sight.

We have two chefs in the family so we didn't bring a cook with us. The next morning, they prepared vegetable frittata and French toast topped with yummy fresh strawberries and condensed milk.

We ordered uncut loaves of bread from the Baguio Country Club bakery, and our chefs just cut the bread thick like in the photo. French toasts this way is sooo much better.

For lunch, we headed over to Camp John Hay and had their lunch buffet. Allie enjoyed the grass area near the teeing area of the golf course. She loves the grass, the plants, the flowers, and the butterflies.

She picked a yellow flower and gave it to me. So sweet.

Here's daddy E giving Allie a spin. Looks like Allie's really enjoying it.

We then went to get some goodies from the Good Shepherd convent that afternoon. But surprise surprise, the line was so long and it started to drizzle. Well, not really a surprise because the line is always long when it's peak season. Anyway, my tita and tito came back the next morning and we just had them buy whatever we wanted -- chocolate crinkles. Sorry, no photos. Ubos agad e.

Then it was time to head back to the farm and spend the weekend. Someone was exhausted.

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Friday, April 5

Food: Mr. Moo

On the way back from Tagaytay, we stopped by Mr. Moo. It's a dairy store just by the highway. It's called Mr. Moo, but they have dairy products from cows, carabaos and goats.

Mr. Moo's products are "hand-squeezed by farmers, guaranteed fresh from haciendas," and "organically fed farm animals."

Here's their menu board.

We always get fresh milk and jumbo pastillas (milk candy) whenever we go to Tagaytay. Fresh milk because fresh milk at the grocery is rare. Pastillas to get our fix. Yummy!

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