Sunday, June 16, 2013

dreams do come true


a couple of years ago, 9 of my friends and i stayed at a "household". at that time, i'd been living alone for quite some time, so the exercise of learning more about housework was lost on me. but for some reason, they were quite surprised that i could cook, and if i may say so myself, i could cook well.

i guess it was cause i never cooked for myself, much less for them. little did they know that in the eyes of my brother's friends, i was quite the cooking diva when i was in high school. 

or was it more like a baking diva?

in any case, my cooking/baking diva self craved on of the most iconic things a self-proclaimed kitchen junkie would want to have the most: a kitchenaid stand mixer. and thanks to my mom, this dream came true.


 i had initially asked for a pink one, but because of special offers, sales, and what nots, my mom decided on getting me the classic red one. taking into account that i can't afford to replace the weird 80's green tile that adorn my kitchen, the classic red one was the best choice. it's so bright and such a major stand-out that you can virtually ignore the weird 80's green tile. hehehehe.


i had been hugging this box since it came, so i knew it was quite heavy. but i didn't really how immensely heavy it was until i had to pull it out of the box.


and here it is, in all of its shiny, bright red glory. doesn't it make you want to ignore the icky 80's green tile?

so far i've made chocolate chip mint cookies, chocolate chip walnut cookies, red velvet cupcakes, and fresh orange cupcakes. i'm excited to make more goodies. but more than that, i'm excited over the fact that even at this age, my mom can still make dreams come true.

p.s. happy father's day, papa! i love you.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

alone again, naturally

my mom and i, we have a complicated relationship.

when i was in second grade and my teacher asked us to say who our best friends were, i didn't hesitate in saying my mom was my best friend. after all, my dad was working abroad then and except for the time i spent in school, i was basically with my mom all the time.

and she was a working mother. amazeballs, really.

she made sure i was first in line at the CSA entrance exam, even though my last name began with a "V" and i ended up entering the room last.

she brought us to school every single day cause a school bus from las pinas would be too early.

and she attended every single recognition, program, and school thingamajig that the teachers could think of.


even when i was in college and staying in the dorms already, she'd still bring me to UP on sundays and we'd eat at bun on the run in katipunan.

the time i made it as a university scholar one semester, she surprised me by being in my dorm room after PE class so she could attend the awarding. unfortunately, it was then that she saw a pic of me and an ex. she was crazy mad, but couldn't be on that day cause, after all, i was university scholar. hahaha. she waited till the weekend before biting my head off.


my brother and i were born ten months apart (yes, you read that right), so i wasn't even a year old when i had to start sharing my mom with my brother. and i won't pretend i don't know he's her favorite. i've grown to accept that as a fact of life, pretty much like how everything that goes up must come down. but favorite or not, i've always known that i wasn't every shortchanged by mom.

not in terms of a good education. not in terms of material possessions. not in terms of care and affection. if at all, i just wasn't able to get away with as much as my brother did. but when you're 36 years old, that doesn't really matter anymore. (or so I claim, haha!)


my mom arrived late night on April 21 (or was it early morning April 22) and i brought her to the airport at 4am this morning. it's crazy how we "tried" each other so much over the past couple of days. there were times that i was so frustrated i didn't know how to handle taking care of my mom (not that she needed taking care of) - i didn't know what she wanted to eat, or what she wanted to do, and how to make the heat go away (aircon, but she didn't like staying in one place too much, and turning on all the airconditioning units was just crazy). maybe i had just gotten so used to being alone and taking care of no one but myself. or maybe it was just how we are. i dunno. but thinking now about all the times we spent being frustrated with each other over the course of her vacation makes me want to hit my head against the wall as to how i could've been so stupid as to waste precious time with my mom.


it's mother's day tomorrow. ironically, we're not spending it together. i miss her already - i miss her calling me ateng and her sweeping my house every so often cause she just can't get over how dusty everything is in the philippines. i miss our weekends spent shopping (hence the suitcases that may or may not be above the weight limit) and our weekends spent with me forcing her to eat stuff at my favorite restaurants (thank goodness she liked banapple). but i'm also realistic; i do know that any longer and we would've probably ended up resenting each other beyond repair.

as i've said, my mom and i, we have a complicated relationship.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

first trip of the year

{what's a trip to Siem Reap without the standard pic of Angkor Wat reflected on the pool?}
Ever since my friends pulled off that trip to Kuala Lumpur without killing each other, it has been our plan to hie off to Cambodia and see Angkor Wat. Or maybe it was their plan and I just adopted it as one of my own, haha. But, whatever, we wanted to go to Cambodia and it was timely that eventually Cebu Pacific offered a direct flight.

And, as with our KL trip, this was a truly spur of the moment, a let's-check-the-website-if-there's-a-sale, and boom, sometime back in August, we found ourselves with affordable tickets to Siem Reap for the last weekend of January.


For some reason, out of the country trips with my Tuloy friends always involve me, Cathy, Ralf, and KEf. This time around, KEf brought his friend, Doc (at least that's what I call him, he's a real doctor, promise!) who fit perfectly with out group. 

You do know when I say "fit perfectly" it means he basically agreed with everything I said, never complained about the food I ordered, and laughed at all my jokes. ☺

According to the websites, January is one of the best times to visit, it being their "small winter". One website even said to bring thick clothes. I'm glad I didn't listen to that advice. It was WARM!!!


On our first full day, Friday (we arrived Thursday evening), I couldn't help but feel giddy-excited. As most of my friends can attest, I'm a city girl - I like traveling to cities, shopping, checking out malls, and walking amidst people hurrying for work. Maybe that's why I loved Kuala Lumpur so much! So I couldn't really explain why my excitement was just way off the charts. 

When I saw my first temple, it just struck me: this was not just traveling to a different country, this was traveling to a different time. People made these with their hands, without heavy machinery, and people made these monuments to reach out to the gods.

And while none of these were made to reach out to the God I worship, there was just something about man's desire to worship a greater deity that struck a chord with me.


And don't let this kid's sweet face fool you. My friends and I were waiting for KEf to finish taking pictures (that ends only when his camera dies on him) when this kid stood in front of me, started counting out postcards in that Cambodian sing-song accented English, repeatedly telling me, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, ten postcards for one dollar." At first I was able to resist him. After five or so rounds, I caved in. With the dollar at Php40, I think I can afford ten postcards without a problem. My only condition was that he pose for me.

(I think it was that ear peeking out of his hoodie that did me in. A minute after I snapped this pic, another kid, this time in a pumpkin costume - where he got it i can only guess - did the exact same ruse of counting postcards in English. Gaaaah!!! I feel for the tourist trap!!!)

Now, I'm sure a hundred (thousands!) other bloggers would have better posts about Siem Reap ... for one, I was too amazed at everything that I didn't even take note of the temples that we visited. All I knew was that they took my breath away and that I would want a second go at this lovely country, this time armed with my guide book, more energy to manage the treks, and more time to just pore over every little bit of interesting thing this country has to offer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

start the new year with a bang ...

... or in my case, BANGS!

{so yes, i'm making a weird face in the pic. please ignore that!}

maybe it was cause the weather suddenly turned cool.

or maybe it was cause i was hating my hair with each passing day and regretting the trip i made all the may to this small salon in manila thinking i got a great deal on hair rebonding when in fact (1) it was expensive and (2) it ruined my hair.

maybe it was cause i was embarrassed when the girl who colored my hair struggled like crazy combing my hair after washing it ... yeah, it was that damaged.

whatever the reason, last friday, i asked M (my unofficial photographer and my new hair's #1 fan) to go with me to Shine Girls.

now, Shine Girls sort of has a cult following among the korean hairstyling fanatics. and the stylist, jina, almost didn't cut my hair cause i didn't make an appointment prior to going there. but i guess she took one look at the sad state of my hair and decided that if someone needed her magic, it was most definitely me.

since there was most definitely a communication issue (apparently, the only english she trusted was the english of one of her helpers there), my instructions were simple: i don't care what you do to my hair, as long as you take away the damaged portions. 

and oh, i wanted bangs.

she did warn me that my hair was going to end up short and that bangs would required blow-drying in the morning but i threw all caution to the wind. after all, what have i got to lose at this point?

so she cut. and cut. and cut. and cut some more. there was lifting and texturizing and other stuff i couldn't begin to understand. what there wasn't any of was talking. so while i was glad for the language barrier (at least no chit chat) i was afraid of the outcome.

for a while, i was, cause it seemed like my hair was going to come out all kpop-like. then she worked her wonders with a straightening iron, and in a matter of minutes, she made my hair pretty.

i mean, look at that detail!

{screen capture from @dred_fabian's instagram feed}
needless to say, for a P400 haircut, i was one happy, if not overjoyed, customer!

proof here:

{yep, more pics, and all from my official photographer!}
is it shorter? yup, but on bad hair days (translation: when i don't have the energy/patience to fix it) i can put it up on a ponytail still and look decent.

it it difficult to maintain? nope, not at all. i won't lie and say it's wash and wear cause it requires the "making" of a couple of curls with a straightening iron to bring out the nice layers. but, doing all that is super quick (less than ten minutes) with my favorite revlon straightener. easy peasy.

the biggest plus of all though is that the damaged/easily tangled/dead portions are all gone, and my hair seems  much, much healthier. and if only for that, i am so glad for this impulse trip to get my hair cut.

(and if you can't see it, well, look real closely cause i do indeed have bangs ☺)

Monday, January 07, 2013

let's give the birthday boy some bacon love!

{don't be distracted by the new polka dot dinnerware -- this is a really good hearty soup!}
you all know my food twin, right? after all, he IS way more popular than i am! and you all know how much he loves bacon, so much that family bring him bacon as pasalubong! so, in honor of his anniversary (yesterday) and his birthday (today), i'm writing a second post for today and it's all about today's dinner which i made in his honor:

pototo, cauliflower, corn, and BACON chowder*

*recipe adopted from here! notes from me!!!

cauliflower, chopped (1 big head, or several small heads)
1 large potatoes, diced (the smaller the dice, the faster they'll cook)
chicken stock (2 chicken bouillion cubes in around 1.5 liters of water)
1 can of corn kernels, drained
crumbled bacon (a lot, like around 250 grams. btw - purefoods actually has this now!)
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1/8 cup butter
1 large onion
salt and pepper to taste

method:

1. in the pan where you'll make the soup, fry the bacon. no need to make it crisp, just cooked! remove from pan, set aside.

2. melt the butter in the same pan (which will have a bit of fat rendered from the bacon, yum!). add garlic and onions and lightly fry till onion is transparent. DO NOT BROWN.

3. add the cauliflower and the potatoes. add enough chicken stock till the cauliflower and potatoes are covered.

4. bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked.

5. using an immersion blender, blend the soup. OR, allow to cool a bit then transfer to blender to mix. 
    * now after blending, you'll know whether your soup is perfectly thick or too thin. mine was, so i made roux with butter, onions, and flour and added it to the soup. it thickened a bit!

6. add corn and bacon. season with salt and pepper. simmer for 15 minutes.

7. serve warm! to make the soup a bit more special (and since i had a lot of it), i sprinkled parmesan cheese on top which became a "soft crust" that you can break into.
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