Sunday, July 29

Shopping: Project Happy at the Megatent Bargain Hunt (Part 3)

It is the last day of our pop-up shop at Bargain Hunt here at the new Megatent along C5, Libis, Quezon City. Come and visit us!

Project Happy brings a little of happiness for the shopaholic in you. Here are some pieces you will find at our stall.

Envelope clutches

Origami crane brass necklace

Peter Pan Floral chiffon top / "love" brass necklace

Cherry Dots cosmetic kit bundle

'Kokeshi doll' fruity lip balms

'Kokeshi doll' liquid eyeliners

Scarf print maxi dress / Adjustable belt

-- and lots and lots of chiffon!

Because we want to share the happiness with everybody, the promo is still on this Sunday!

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Saturday, July 28

Shopping: Project Happy at the Megatent Bargain Hunt (Part 2)

{Photos by Project Happy}

Project Happy at the new Megatent -- all set and ready to go!

Fruity lip balms 'kokeshi'

Ribbon back pastels, cut out dresses, chiffon tops and more!

Just for Saturday, here's a deal for you shopaholics--

For more information, visit our facebook page.
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Thursday, July 26

Shopping: Project Happy at the Megatent Bargain Hunt

This July, Project Happy brings a little happiness for the fashionista in you. We will be at the new Megatent in C5, Libis from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Parking is free, and the space is fully air conditioned. Come visit us and have fun shopping!

How to get there:
via Wild Events

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Tuesday, July 24

Inspiration: Raindrops

It has been raining cats and dogs here in Manila for the past few days. I love rain. Some people hate it, but I don't. Rain means hot chocolate for breakfast. Rain means having to cuddle with someone you love under the sheets during a lazy Saturday rainy morning. Rain means boots and raincoats. Rain means sharing an umbrella with someone you love. :-)

{1} Charlie Rain Boots from Anthropologie
{2} DIY Cloud Mobile by Laura Howard
{3} Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard Earrings by Tiffany
{4} Plum Double Breasted Trench Coat by Ellen Tracy

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Saturday, July 21

Shopping: Kate Spade x Classic Lit Book Clutches

Aren't these cute to have or what?

Emma Book Clutch by kate spade ($325)

Romeo & Juliet Book Clutch by kate spade ($325)

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Thursday, July 19

Philippines: A Future Full of Hope

This is an article written by Jose Ma. Montelibano in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. My father-in-law sent this article in an email to us. I read it, and I smiled. I smiled and felt proud of my country. I think, indeed, it is a future full of hope, for everyone.

Taken on our way to the farm

A future full of hope
By: Jose Ma. Montelibano
Philippines Daily Inquirer
Thursday, June 14th, 2012

It is difficult not to be optimistic about the future of our country. In fact, one would have to be totally blind, totally prejudiced, totally compromised, or simply too emotionally constipated not to be optimistic. Optimism does not remove the problems, but makes it easier to do so. Optimism does not paint a bright future but makes it attractive to have one. Yes, optimism looks at the glass half full instead of half empty, but it has good reason to do so – like realizing the water is coming in and not going out.

For nine months, financial institutions and international rating agencies have consistently upgraded their forecasts on the Philippines. I am amazed at how all of them, yes, all of them, are so bullish about the Philippines. And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, their optimism has been affirmed when the Philippines posted an outstanding 6.4% growth in GNP for the first quarter of 2012. By achieving a growth that is the highest among ASEAN countries and second only to China for the whole of Asia, the Philippines proved that the positive ratings had solid foundations.

What is interesting is that the optimism of the world’s financial institutions and rating agencies coincided with the arrest of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the impeachment of now deposed Chief Justice Renato Corona. What his political opponents tried to downplay, even disparage, now has President Noynoy Aquino on the right side of history. When he placed absolute priority on the fight against corruption as his campaign promise, and now his governance, P-Noy accepted that the pain of reform and the challenge of transformation were necessary ingredients to the change that Filipinos clamored for. It takes courage to demand justice and begin from the top.

It takes courage to demand that the former president must face the music from inside the Philippines and now safely outside the arms of Philippine laws and justice. It takes courage to confront a TRO from the Supreme Court which would have allowed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to leave the country in a fastbreak manner. It takes courage to tell Renato Corona to his face in a public setting that the Chief Justice was protecting the one who appointed him in the dead of night and worked out Supreme Court decisions with great partiality. It takes courage to inspire the impeachment of the Chief Justice despite all the warnings about a Constitutional crisis.

I am on my last leg of a month-long journey to visit Filipinos in the United States and Canada. In the nation-building advocacy of Gawad Kalinga which I always try to contribute to, I have found it crucial that Filipinos abroad, especially Filipinos in America, must be an active player in the change and prosperity of the motherland. I have also realized that the fractiousness, and, sometimes, outright divisiveness of community leaders, have to take their own reform and then movement towards solidarity The enormous financial power of Filipinos in America plus their influence on the families they support back home cannot be undervalued.If they find reasonable convergence in transcendent causes, the money and influence of Filipinos in America can bring more financial and political benefit than the World Bank or the IMF combined.

Overseas Filipino Workers, popularly known as OFWs, send more money to their families in the Philippines than Filipinos in America, but they cannot send much more than what they are already sending. OFWs already send the bulk of their wages every month. On the other hand, Filipinos in America can till increase dramatically what they remit to the Philippines if they are properly motivated or inspired. They can send annually more billions of US and Canadian dollars than what the World Bank and the IMF has historically provided the Philippines as loans. And the funds that Filipinos in America can additionally remit to the Philippines, even as investments to long-term development, will most probably stay in the Philippines permanently.

Credibility. Confidence. Optimism. A crab mentality is born from a sour outlook. Divisiveness is born from an acidic attitude. Most bad news are not real – they are stories from spin masters who take one bad news and multiplies it until it dominates the rest of reality which carries good news as well. Most bad news flow from a history of Filipinos ready to believe the worst of ourselves even when the best of ourselves is what it takes to build the future we long for but can never have with negativism as the primary driver. Revolutions have been known to destroy but only hard work with positive motivation builds a nation with a brighter future.

There is a new generation of Filipinos who do not carry the baggage of divisiveness and pessimism. They have long rejected the gloomy or the contentious which are great dampers to the creative spirit and expression of modern technology. Those who will build our nation are not chained to conflict, they are wired to change. Those who cannot see and say anything contributory to the kind of future they want are simply neglected, not even worth contending with. This is the future.

In the United States and Canada, Filipinos are beginning to feel that new optimism about the great possibility of change. In no small measure did the impeachment, conviction and removal of Rene Corona as Chief Justice contribute to the general feeling of pride in being Filipino, in being part of people able to demand honesty and justice. I believe, though, that the new optimism in the air is from a deeper faith that we can do it, that we have what it takes to do it, and that change is possible because we want it more strongly than ever.

I believe, too, that the fresh air of the young, the idealism that naturally springs from their soul, will lead us to a togetherness that will defy the bondage of history, dismantle our divisions, confront and defeat the greed and apathy that perpetuate poverty. I believe that those who will build a future full of hope have arrived at last.

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Tuesday, July 17

Food: Naan n Curry

It was a perfect day in San Francisco. I was out with my family to meet my high school friend near Union Square.

Of all the times I have been to San Francisco, I can't believe I've never been to that area. Lame!

So anyway, it was lunchtime, and my nephew suggested we try out Naan n Curry at O'Farrell. It didn't disappoint.

It was not a fancy schmancy place. Just straight-to-the-point good Indian/Pakistani buffet for a really low price -- $10 for lunch I think. The interior was a bit too dark for my taste.

Vegetable abundance.

My favorite? Their Chicken Biryani. It is no doubt my favorite Indian food. One of my colleagues in the agency before was from a place in India and he swears that it has the best Chicken Biryani in the world. I would love to go and just try that.

The Chicken Biryani is another score to my perfect place. Do you know any good Chicken Biryani recipe?

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Monday, July 16

Crafts/DIY: Upcycling Tin Cans

We are obsessed with these Royal Dansk snacks.

Image via Amazon

Now we are overstocked with empty cans. I didn't want to throw them away because I saw the potential of having cute containers that are easy to DIY.

Last weekend, I found time to do them. They're super easy to make. I think I finished in 10 minutes tops.

You will need:

  • Empty tin cans
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray paint

Here is one empty can, all shiny and smooth

Slightly sand the surface, just so the paint will stick to it. Spray paint it, one coat at a time until covered.

Tada! Spray painted tin cans

Another shot taken near the koi pond. My cans are so purty.

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Saturday, July 14

Party: Table for Two

This was taken New Year's Eve in 2009. The hubby and I wanted to celebrate simply, just the two of us.

I think this was the last time I did a private setting for two. I cooked, I setup, I dressed. :P

What's on the table?
* Square plates from Crate and Barrel and CB2
* Silverware from Oneida
* Table linens and glasses from Target
* Serving dishes from Crate and Barrel, another one was a gift from my SIL
* Fresh irises from Kroger
* Bud vases, candles from Crate and Barrel (can you tell I was such a Crate and Barrel fan way back then? I still am.)
* Plant and pot from Ikea
* Sparkling drink from Ikea -- I love this! I found that you can get this from your local Healthy Options store here in Manila.

Sigh, I'm nostalgic.

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Friday, July 13

Food: Pad Thai

What's a Thailand trip without having an authentic Pad Thai?

This is a photo of the Pad Thai we had. Looks super yummy right?

I tried cooking Pad Thai a long time ago, but it wasn't as good as the one we had in Thailand. Now that I tasted real Pad Thai, I am inspired to cook it again.

I found this authentic Pad Thai recipe that has great reviews, so I will try this one soon.

Pad Thai
Recipe from Savory Sweet Life

* 1/3 cup fish sauce
* 1/2 cup palm sugar
* 1/2 cup tamarind juice concentrate
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 4 ounces dried rice stick noodles
* 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
* 4 cloves garlic, minced cup red onion, thinly sliced
* 1 ½ cups thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu
* 1 egg
* 1 cup carrots, match sticks
* 1cup green onion cut diagonal in ½ inch segments
* 1 cup mung bean sprouts
* 1 cup cilantro
* 1cup toasted peanuts, chopped
* Lime wedge


  1.  To make pad thai sauce, heat a small pan on medium low and add fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind concentrate, and garlic. Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolve. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweek the sweetness or hotness (be careful, the sauce will be hot). To make it more spicy add a little Thai chili powder. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before storing it in a jar or plastic container. 
  2. Boil noodles for 4-5 minutes and drain immediately rinsing with cold water for a few seconds. Noodles should be slightly firmer than Al dente. But don’t worry, they will continue to soften and cook later when stir frying. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodle clump in half. This will make it easier to fry and eat. 
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan on high and cook raw chicken, pork, beef, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes. Remove meat/tofu/seafood into a small bowl. 
  4. Next, heat the remaining oil and then add garlic and red onions to the hot pan and stir fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. 
  5. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute. Add 3-4 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce continually stirring noodle mixture until well coated with sauce. Add cooked meat/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes. 
  6. Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds. 
  7. Add carrots, green onions, and sprouts and cook for one more minute frying everything together. Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. If your noodles need more flavor, add another tablespoon of sauce and fry another half minute. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with remaining raw carrot match sticks, spouts, cilantro, toasted peanuts, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!
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Thursday, July 12

Travel: Shopping in Thailand

What started as a spontaneous Bangkok adventure between one of my sisters and I ended up as a group shopping trip with both my sisters, my mom and my aunt. We got lucky we all snatched the same flights despite having to book weeks apart.

Two in the beginning --

-- five in the end.

What a shopping experience it was. We arrived at Bangkok late at night, at the hotel by 1-ish in the morning. The very next day, we went shopping to catch their weekend market, Chatuchak. Chatuchak is very similar to the bargain shops in Divisoria (Manila) sans the air conditioning. It was very hot and humid -- very much like Manila. We enjoyed every moment of it nonetheless.

We started at around 10am; there were still a few people. After lunch, the number of shoppers multiplied tenfold. But that did not stop us from shopping. Well, nothing can stop us from shopping! Haha.

We found some interesting stuff for sale.

(Top L-R) Flower hair clips, Vintage typewriter and London telephone booth decor, white bird cages
(Bottom L-R) Hanging lights, brass graphic necklaces, green mangoes

We went to Platinum Fashion Mall the next day. This one is similar to Greenhills (Manila). They have their own stalls in an air conditioned mall. It's a little bit more expensive than Chatuchak, and you will find mostly clothes here. Lots and lots of clothes. It's a shopping heaven for the fashionistas out there. You won't feel icky after a full day of shopping unlike in Chatuchak. I guess that made up for the higher prices.

There's a tuk tuk service area outside the mall. The tuk tuk is a motorized tricycle, and can fit 2 passengers comfortably.

We stayed at a hotel 10 minutes away from the Platinum, so it wasn't a surprise that we went again the next afternoon after doing a bit of the touristy stuff I posted about yesterday.

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Wednesday, July 11

Travel: Of Palaces and Temples

Thailand -- the land of smiles. We wanted to see a glimpse of Thailand as tourists but we only had half a day to do it.

There was a lot of places to go to; but we opted to go see the Grand Palace and the two temples of Buddha around the area.

The Grand Palace is where the King resides. Buildings in the complex are so ornately decorated. They have colorful roof tiles, golden spires and accents, and thousands and thousands of mosaic tiles.

Look at the roof tiles. Those are the guardians of the gate.

This building, where guests of Thai royalty stay (according to our tour guide), was built for the King's son. You can see the European influence here.

They even have a building where you can really see the mix of Thai and European architecture. This is their reception hall. Look at the trees -- they are using bonsai!

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a sight to see. It is one of the most colorful, ornate structures I have ever seen.

Gold mosaic tiles. You'd think they have their own local supplier, but this is imported from Italy. Haha.

Look at the details...

One of the Buddhas, but this is not the Emerald Buddha. I couldn't capture a nice photo of the Emerald Buddha, because taking photos is prohibited inside the temple. Funny though, the Emerald Buddha is not made of emerald, but jade.

Another ornate design element --

Even the ceiling has design.

The second temple is located a few blocks from the Palace. Here is where the Reclining Buddha is located. It's sooo huge. See?

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Tuesday, July 10

Travel: The Land of Smiles

Just a teaser... Thailand is such a wonderful country. It's rich in culture and great shopping finds!

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Sunday, July 8

Wedding: Reminiscing the Gown

I don't know why, but for some reason I thought about my wedding. I was thinner then (who wasn't?), and this still fit me. It was a semi-custom Monique Lhuillier. How I love that gown. It was so simple, well, except for the fine detailing at the top. My mom had it preserved so it can withstand the harsh humidity of Manila. :)

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Saturday, July 7

Love: Fireworks

I love watching fireworks. I took this photo back in 2009 at Cornet Bay, WA. It was such a beautiful sight. I hope you guys had a wonderful fourth of July.

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Friday, July 6

Food: The Rock's Brown Sugar Mozz Bread

OMG. I was browsing my photos this morning and there I found this.

It was serendipitous that we went out for lunch near UW in Tacoma, WA, and my nephew brought up that he wanted pizza.

We went to The Rock Wood Fired Pizza.

We were having a late lunch, so we were forced to order a la carte instead of their pizza buffet -- and there we ordered their Brown Sugar Mozz Bread -- a fortunate discovery.

According to The Rock's menu, it is garlic dough topped with brown sugar and mozzarella, then baked in their brick oven. When they serve it, it came with a strawberry dipping sauce. This is one of their appetizers, but I would order this for dessert. Super yummy! We ordered another round.

Here are other photos of The Rock at Tacoma.

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