Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Creamy Tomato Spaghetti

I've been craving for some creamy tomato spaghetti and luckily, I have all the ingredients I need in the fridge! There are only 3 main components for this dish: tomato, spaghetti, and milk/cream. The full list of ingredients and procedures are below.

1 fresh tomato, chopped
1 cup = 140 g spaghetti (already cooked)
1/2 cup milk/cream
4 tbsp Parmesan
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1. Cook the chopped tomato for 5 minutes to let its juice out.
2. Add the milk/cream onto the chopped tomato. Let them simmer for another 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally. Make sure they're mixed well and the milk/cream is thick, you wouldn't want it to be watery.
3. Add the cooked spaghetti and cook for 3-5 minutes.
4. Transfer to a plate or whatever you want to eat it in.
5. Add grated Parmesan.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Nature Republic Hair Color Cream Wine Red and The Face Shop Pore Clean Cleansing Oil

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you had a good one! 

Today, I indulged myself a little bit by spending some of the Christmas money I got yesterday. I bought Nature Republic Hair Color Cream Wine Red and The Face Shop Pore Clean Cleansing Oil. 

Reading this article from Huffington Post totally encouraged me to try cleansing oils and add it to my beauty routine. So for today, I was originally planning to buy Nature Republic's Tea Tree Cleansing Oil that lessens blemishes, but unfortunately it was just a limited edition offer and they don't have stocks anymore. I was just walking around the store when I saw their Wine Red Hair Color Cream. I instantly grabbed it because I really love my hair colored any shade of red and it's been a long time since I last dyed my hair! It's priced at PHP 325 and I find it really affordable. So yes, I bought it when I was in impulse buying mode haha. 

Learning that they don't sell the Tea Tree Cleansing Oil anymore, I went to The Face Shop, my next choice of Korean beauty brand, to check out their cleansing oils. They have two variations: Pore Clean and Brightening. I picked Pore Clean because right now, having clean pores and a clean face overall is more important to me than having a bright and radiant one. Pore Clean has Cherry Blossom extract that cleans the pores by removing dead skin cells. It smells good as well. It's 200 ml and priced at PHP 895. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Face Shop FACE IT Velvet Skin Primer Short Review

Based on my previous beauty posts, I guess you could say that I'm a fan of Korean beauty products, and I sure am! That's why when I was deciding where to purchase my first ever primer, I checked out the Korean beauty shops here, like The Face Shop, Etude House, and Nature Republic. The one that impressed me the most was The Face Shop's FACE IT Velvet Skin Primer.

It gives your skin a matte finish and based on the times that I tested it before the purchase, I saw that it really makes the skin look smoother and almost pore-less. It weighs 30 g, pump-type, and priced at PHP 895. It's expensive but I think it's worth the pay. I'm so excited to use it!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

9 Rules that Guide My Decision-making. What's Yours?

As I've already mentioned in some of my previous posts, I'm currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. There was a chapter that discussed how to improve one's Mindfulness, which according to the book is "the cultivation of conscious, nonjudgmental awareness"

Rubin shared her True Rules, a set of principles and beliefs that guides her whenever she has to make a decision and set priorities. After reading it, I was inspired to make my own list and this is what I came up with!

How about you? Do you have your own True Rules?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Happiness Project Quote #2

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bulgogi Brothers for Sunday Lunch Date with Mommy!

My mom and I are avid Korean cuisine enthusiasts and so we decided to have our Sunday Lunch Date at Bulgogi Brothers, a Korean restaurant. It was our first time there and we are sure to go back again and again!

The appetizers were quickly served and consisted of mostly vegetables: kimchi, anchovies, fermented radish, lettuce and carrots with some sweet & spicy sauce, corn, and sweet potatoes. Everything was really delicious but the ones I really loved were the kimchi and the sweet & spicy lettuce. They also have Tea of the Day. We were offered a whole thermos of Barley Tea which is good for digestion! 

After the appetizers, we were served the Bulgogi Bibimbap that I ordered. It was really good!! Every ingredient in it was served in huge amounts. There were various vegetables, lots of beef strips, and the spicy sauce was unforgettable. 

A short while after, our Beef Belly Barbecue arrived! We ordered it with lettuce instead of rice because we wanted to wrap the beef slices in greens. Our very nice server volunteered to cook the meat for us. But before that, she grilled the sweet potatoes and onions first. Korean barbecue restaurants usually serve their meat unseasoned. They give their customers the option to season their ordered meat and in Bulgogi Brothers, they gave us 3 types of flavoring for the beef: their original/signature spicy sauce, Ssamjang sauce which was my extreme favorite because it tasted sweet, spicy, and garlic-y, and salt. 

Our overall first dining experience in Buglogi Brothers gave us a really good impression of the restaurant. The service was excellent (server was attentive and nice, dishes were served very quickly) and the food was A+ in taste, variety, and quantity. The prices were reasonable and affordable too! I now have an addition to my list of favorite restaurants and we will definitely go back!

*Pardon for a lack of photos because my camera died halfway our stay in the restaurant :(

Saturday, November 29, 2014

3 Virtues You Need To Get Through A Slump

I was reading an article about traveling when this suddenly hit me: I want to move to another country where no one knows me, meet new people, and begin a new life. Unfortunately, that's not exactly possible right now due to personal reasons. Then I asked myself, "Why do I want this? Why do I want to start a new life in a place with unfamiliar faces?'. There was only one answer: I'm starting to get tired of my current situation. 

I won't say that I'm becoming totally hopeless because I think I'm still pretty optimistic and hopeful right now ;) However, I'm beginning to question myself, everything that has been happening to me, and why in the world they're happening to me. But thanks to the power of all the inspirational and self-help articles and books I've been reading since the past year, I've successfully pushed myself to become more resilient and positive. Yes I won't deny that I'm starting to feel down again, but compared to how I was before, I guess I'm able to pick myself up and move on more quickly now.

In addition to Resilience, this slump I'm experiencing reminded me to practice another virtue: Gratitude. Why do I want a new life in a new place with new people when I already got a life here and now? With people who both challenge me and help me? I just really have to be grateful with everything and everyone I have right now and make the most out of them! I know this is not easy to do, that's why we have to cultivate Gratitude daily in our own little ways. Making a collage or a list of the things you're grateful for are some ways to do this!

Also, I cannot let myself forget that there's a good reason for all this. As the famous saying goes, "Everything happens for a reason". Instead of questioning and doubting myself and everything else, I simply have to work hard despite the odds.

To sum everything up, my advice is to practice:

1. Resilience - be strong, push yourself
2. Gratitude - be grateful with who and what you have and make the most out of them
3. Optimism - always remember that there's a good reason for everything

I hope these virtues would help you when you feel like giving up or escaping from a problem :) 

How about you? Do you have any advice that you want to share? :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nature Republic 92% ALOE VERA GEL Review

Nature Republic is one of the popular beauty brands in Korea. Just by hearing its name, one can already assume that their beauty products are made from natural ingredients. They use natural substances like fruit and tea extracts. 

I bought their 92% Aloe Vera Gel a few months ago, mainly because my favorite Korean boy group was endorsing it (yes, celebrity endorsements really work on me). But besides that, I also knew that Aloe Vera offers a wide range of benefits. 

When I entered the store, there was an infographic near the entrance that showed the different ways of using the Aloe Vera Gel. It was similar to this one:

It was a really effective in-store ad because after seeing it, I was even more convinced to buy the gel.

The gel is transparent, thick, and easy to apply. It smells good too!

Following the infographic, I use it to moisturize any dry part of my body (lips, skin, face). It gives a cool sensation as well so whenever I feel hot, I apply it on my neck. I also use it to grow my eyebrows. I apply it on my brows twice a day: after taking a bath and after washing my face before bedtime. It was effective in the beginning but now, the effects have slowed down. 

Besides using it for skin care, I also use it as part of my make-up routine. I was watching a Korean beauty program and the make-up expert said that mixing your moisturizer with your foundation/BB cream is better than putting your moisturizer first. So instead of using it as a make-up base as suggested in the infographic, I mix the gel with my BB cream and put them as one on my face. With this, the Aloe Vera Gel moisturizes my skin and at the same time makes my face look dewy/luminous. 

Nature Republic's 92% ALOE VERA GEL (recognized by California Certified Organic Farmers) works well both as a skin care and as a make-up product. For skin care, it moisturizes my dry body parts instantly. As for make-up, it works very well with my BB cream. It is priced at PHP 250 which is very reasonable and cheap. Overall it is an effective product and it's honestly one of the best beauty purchases I've ever made! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

5 Steps to Restore the Faith

Some of us may have come to the point where too many misfortunes were happening in our lives that we just decided to stop believing in God. In my case, my religiousness have started to waver when I was around third year college. All the aspects of my life just kept getting worse and I started to feel animosity towards God. I questioned Him about all the misfortunes I had and eventually, I began to doubt if there really was a God out there. So you see, it didn't just waver, my religiousness went down to 0. I stopped believing in God. I declared myself an Atheist and even had q&a sessions with my Atheist online friend to learn more about Atheism.

My religious past self used to believe that God won't give me problems that I can't bear and that He would always help me. I also believed that everything happens for a reason and behind every reason was Him. But the time came when all of these beliefs didn't make sense to me anymore. My thinking became more worldly.

But fortunately, I woke up from that state and decided that I'm going to believe again. I realized that not believing in God didn't improve my life and make me any happier. So how did I do it? First off let me tell you at this point that it's a long process, of course. Even up to now, I'm still not done. I'm still working on restoring my relationship with God. The following are the steps I came up with:

  1. Decide whether you're really going to stop believing in Him OR you are just mad at Him.
  2. If you feel that you're not happy with whatever your decision is, take a step back and look at everything, the whole situation. Then ask yourself, "Why am I not happy?". I
    n my case, I realized that I made the wrong move when I decided to quit Catholicism. I thought that doing that would finally help me feel better and happier. But dude was I wrong. Weeks turned into months and eventually, the truth came to me: I was just mad at Him. I was so mad that I convinced myself that He's not real, I denied His existence. I forced myself into Atheism thinking that that was the right thing for me to do given my circumstances. In answering the question above, you should be totally honest with yourself. It's better and more helpful than denying your feelings, questions, and thoughts. Once you find the answer, this question should come next, "What should I do to be happy?".
  3. Realizing my big mistake, I started praying to Him right away. I asked for forgiveness and explained to Him everything: all my thoughts, feelings, and worries (though He knows all of them already). I also suggest to try to always talk to Him even if it's not exactly a prayer, you can talk to Him even in random moments throughout the day; express your thoughts and concerns and ask for help. To be honest, I think it's just like trying to reconcile with a close friend you had a fight with.

  4. Go to Confession. I haven't done this yet because I'm still in the part where I'm trying to be comfortable with God again. But I will do it soon. This is advisable because once you do this, you would feel like you're a new person. This would help you leave your sins, guilt, and mistakes behind and start anew.

  5. Go to Mass. I believe that this should be done ONLY after going to confession, because that's the right way, isn't it?

So those are the steps that I took, have been taking, and will take as someone who wants to go back to God after spending a part of her life as a non-believer. Though I want to restore my faith as soon as possible, I believe that this kind of thing should not be rushed. If you try to rush it, you would feel that it's wrong and it would just make you feel worse. I hope those steps would be helpful to a Catholic who's having doubts about staying in the religion or not.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Way Healthier Alternative for Mayonnaise

We always use Mayonnaise for different purposes: dressing, spread, dip, etc. But we also know that it's really fatty so we often think about what healthier alternatives we could use instead. According to this Buzzfeed article, Avocado can serve as a healthy substitute for Mayonnaise. I strongly agree but recently, I realized that there's another healthy alternative: Pesto. 

Pesto is an Italian sauce that you can make easily. You just need fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Sometimes people add cheese and nuts too. You simply have to mix them all in a blender or food processor. But just a little trivia: Italians in the olden times used to mince the ingredients manually using mortar and pestle. This is where the word pesto was derived from, it came from pestare, which is Italian for 'to crush' or 'to pound'.

I always make Pesto and serve it with almost anything because it effortlessly turns any simple dish into something more special, both in taste and in presentation. I mix it with eggs to make a Pesto omelette. I serve it with Tuna to make a healthier sandwich/taco filling. I spread it onto Cream Dory to add flavor. And of course, it's the best when you have it with pasta. That was the first and original use of it anyway. See? There are indeed a lot of ways to include Pesto in your own recipes! If you want to make it even more healthy, you can lessen the oil and don't add any other fatty ingredients like cheese and cream. Based on my experiences with it, I can totally recommend it as a healthier alternative for Mayonnaise. Try it!

How about you? Do you have another healthy substitute for Mayonnaise? I want to know!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The most striking thing I've learned from the 1-day Sales training I had last Saturday. Damn.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Curious and Concerned: Why Knowing the Difference Could Save You

I'm sure all of us have experienced someone asking us, 'Are you okay?'. However, we should be cautious whenever others ask us that, or any question along that line. Because not everyone who asks that is concerned, some are just curious.

There’s a thin line between those two. Concerned people really worry about you and your circumstances. They want to help you get out of your bad situation, they want you to do better, they want you to be well. While curious people on the other hand just ask you the question so that they would know more about you, but not exactly in a good way. They want to know how you are doing and what kind of situation you’re in so that they would have one more person to gossip about, so that they could talk about you behind your back. 

In life, it’s very important to know which ones are concerned and which ones are just curious. This is a very vital step in having a good life filled with good relationships. We have to be careful or else we would really have major trust issues and get hurt in return. And of course we don't want that.

One way to evade mistrusting is to get to know everyone around you.  Talk to them, know their reputation, observe them from a far. Once you think you're done, choose which ones to keep and which ones to avoid. Still having a hard time differentiating? Just trust your gut, your intuition. It won't fail you. There are things that cannot be guaranteed just by seeing and hearing, you also have to feel the things and people around you. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Circumstances of a Fresh Grad: Can't Let My Mind Get Rusty!

Being a carefree bum comes with being a fresh grad who's trying to land her first job. I'm in that part of my life right now and I must admit, I have a love-hate relationship with it. I want to stay as relaxed as this for a longer time but at the same time I want to start working already. But I feel more strongly for the latter, of course.

I don't want my senses and mind to get rusty so I really make the effort to learn about relevant things as much as I can. I'm currently taking up free online courses about blogging and interior decorating because I really want to learn about those two and be good at them eventually. But of course Marketing, my chosen field of profession which I took up in college, is still a good topic for me to explore. I believe that graduating from school doesn't give one the option to stop learning. Learning never stops! 

The 1-day training I had under an out-of-home advertising agency yesterday was a really good opportunity for me to learn more about a possible career path. The speaker discussed about sales and how to get clients to say 'YES'. There were a lot of key takeaways from the training and my mindfulness and senses were really sharpened after days of bumming around. Interacting, taking down notes, paying attention, and listening to new people were indeed refreshing.

After the training, my new friend Michelle went with me to a nearby mall to pick up and pay for a book I reserved last week. It's a book about blogging written by the editors of The Huffington Post. It's entitled 'The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging'. I love reading and browsing through Huffington Post because they have articles that are both witty and informative. I can't wait to start reading the book!!

After that, we went to a milk tea store and boy was I so happy to finally satisfy my cravings! I had GONG CHA's Ice Cream Milk Tea♥ It tasted so creamy and had just the right amount of sweetness! I've had it before and I'm gonna have it again and again. It's one of the best milk tea flavors I ever had!

Look at that froth and melting ice cream!

When I was about to start my day yesterday, I kept telling myself that it was going to be a good and productive day, and it turned out to be even better than I expected! I learned a lot, made new friends, got my hands on the book I've been wanting to have, and had another one of my milk tea adventures♥

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This Interior Design Exhibit Was Conceptualized By Students: UNBELIEVABLE (Part 2)

In my previous post, I talked about my top 3 picks from this year's Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID) Exhibit. But of course I still gushed about the other countries featured in the exhibit! So I'll be talking about them in this post.


I love the huge circular door for the TV set!

And the colored ropes tied around the pillar which really gives off the tribal feeling.

I love the black and gold combination. Very Egyptian. I especially love the chairs and the shiny pillar. Very extravagant! It's not hard to imagine Cleopatra in here, actually.

The ceiling is inspired by the famous pyramids.


I love this spiral wood from the South African exhibit.

4. UAE
I love the colors and the shape of the bed! Reminds me of Jasmine.

I want this hanging/swinging mini sofa from the Indian exhibit in my own home.

The ceiling is really eye-catching too!

Of course our own country, the Philippines, had an exhibit too! And my most favorite part of it is this wavy metal around the ceiling and wall. I asked the student how they made it and he said they pounded it manually. AWESOME.

This is the exhibit that gave off the most vacation-y feeling. Look at that wallpaper! They also used fake grass for the floor.


I love these red and white lanterns!

This is the kitchen wall of the Russian exhibit. They used chalk pen to write on it.

These are recycled wine bottles with lights in them! So beautiful, it's the most memorable part of the Russian exhibit for me.

My favorite part of the the Swedish exhibit is the ceiling. It was influenced by the Aurora Borealis. The students in charge used LED lights and printed pictures of the Aurora lights. They overlapped those two materials and the product was like a moving picture with animated lights! It was really amazing! I think it would be really nice to fall asleep while looking at that.

I also like these triangular pieces of furniture.

This is the shower room from the Spanish exhibit. The design around it is inspired by the Flamenco, a Spanish folk dance. The students patterned their design on how the gowns of the dancing Spanish women flow while they dance Flamenco.

I love the whole package: the desk, the lamp, the big red chair, the television set and its doors, and especially the fireplace.

The ceiling is very well designed too.

This is the only exhibit that had this amount of curtains. Well, it's Greece after all. Whenever I watch movies about Greek gods, they're always clad in curtain-like costumes, so I guess this was expected.

One of the walls had this maze on it. It's based on the Labyrinth in the Greek mythology. The student told me that you could solve it when you're bored.

I think this exhibit is the most heartwarming to look at. The yellow lights and the curtain certainly made it feel that way.

The ceiling design is very beautiful. It's like you have a colorful 3D ceiling with lights! I also like that triangle thing, it makes me feel like I'm on vacation in a rest house.

A highschool batchmate was one of the students in charge of the Czech exhibit. What I love the most about this is the design of the walls. The variety of color and pattern really match well. The wooden floor gives a homey feeling as well.

16. USA
It's the American Eagle on wood. I love it.

Instead of the usual Modern America aesthetics and vibe, the students in charge of the US exhibit chose to go with the American-Indian feel. It's different and I like it!

17. CUBA
I love the quote written on the wall, both the meaning and how it looks: it's cursive and the letters are huge. It's a quote by Ernest Hemingway and when I asked the student why it was used for the Cuban exhibit, she told me that Hemingway spent some time in Cuba while writing a book. I'm in love with the color of the wallpaper too!

I think this is the most minimalistic exhibit. I love the colors and the shape of the sofa. Overall, it looks really clean and I like it.

That's it! But I don't have any pictures of the Turkey exhibit because there were a lot of people when I passed by and it didn't feel right to take photos because they kinda covered the exhibit :/

So, do you have any favorites?