Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Feel Good Read


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, 
be on good terms with all persons. 
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; 
and listen to others, 
even to the dull and the ignorant; 
they too have their story. 
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; 
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, 
you may become vain or bitter, 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, 
for the world is full of trickery. 
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; 
many persons strive for high ideals, 
and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. 
Neither be cynical about love, 
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, 
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, 
gracefully surrendering the things of youth. 
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. 
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, 
whatever you conceive Him to be. 
And whatever your labors and aspirations, 
in the noisy confusion of life, 
keep peace in your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world. 
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dexter Season 5 Pilot Episode

Dexter S5 Episode 1 is so freakin' sad! Now I have to wait for another week to watch the second episode. I can't even get a copy from our favorite DVD supplier. I like it better when I watch the marathon. :(

Polie's Seventh

Happy Seventh Polie Olie!

Having a hand of his birthday cupcake :)

Our little angel is not so little anymore.

O Vera, Vera, Wherefore Art Thou Vera?


My mind can’t seem to wander off the Vera Wang design that I wanted for my wedding dress. Before Amang’s design, I already have a gown in mind. It’s a strapless tulle ballgown w/ belted black sash. But since I’m still on the heavy side and would have to lose the weight that I gained during my pregnancy, Amang made a flattering design so I’d look slimmer. He designed an empire-cut gown. I loved what he just did and for some time, it took off the dream wedding gown that I wanted, not until yesterday.

I was browsing through my wedding folders and saw the Vera Wang dress that I initially planned to have as my wedding dress. Thinking of having the black belted sash added to Amang’s design; I immediately sent an email to Amang w/ picture of the Vera gown. I asked him if he can still incorporate the black belted sash to the gown that he designed and if it would look good even if it’s not a strapless gown. To my delight—he agreed and he loved the idea! There would be little alterations on the gown that he designed but the idea and details would still be there. Ohhhh and I thought I was excited before. Now I’m ecstatic! 

Before I got pregnant w/ my second child, I used to weight about 110lbs and I am 5’7’ tall. Yes, I used to be thin before. Having a CS operation made my recovery period slower and losing the weight that I gained was a lot harder compared to having a normal delivery. Yesterday, I did some research on how fast a person can lose the post-partum weight after delivery. To my delight, I still have ample time to do it-- with sensible eating and regular exercise of course. I’m really excited! It’s a good thing I’m not that stressed out anymore. If I can lose that much weight, I can have the strapless gown that I wanted!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pixel Fetish: Backyard Foliage

Tinkering w/ the camera lens for outdoor shooting.

Good Cheap Eats: Yogie Island VS Mini Stop

I love frozen yogurts in general, but not this
 particular one from Yogie Island.
 I was so disappointed on the taste :(

After our very late dinner last night, we went to Yogie Island at BF Homes to sample their frozen yogurt. We bought two large plain yogurts and added 3 toppings for each. Mine has 3 different chocolate toppings-- choc mallows, choc chip and colorful sugar coated choc. Hubby had oreo, gummy bears and candy sprinkles for his toppings, costing us a total of 270PHP all in. They only have 2 sizes for the yogurt—regular and large. They also have flavored yogurt and smoothies. They have a wide selection of toppings and even have Chocnut! We’re a bit disappointed on the taste. We had expected the yogurt to be a little sweeter (like from other Yogurt stores), but it tastes like the real thing. It’s a good thing we had chosen sweeter toppings to neutralize the sourness of the yogurt. The texture is smooth but it’s not that creamy. The serving sizes are too small so it’s really not a value for money. But the place is so cozy! They have UNO Stacko and other boardgames that you can play w/ while inside the store. The store itself has Wi-Fi. The place is so "sosyal" but what they sell is not worth it.

Today, I finally had a taste of Mini-Stop’s soft ice cream. Hubby has been bugging me to try it since the day he had tasted it. We saw a Mini-Stop store while on the way to Amang’s shop and urged me to give it a try. The ice cream cone only costs 15PHP, the ice cream is not too sweet plus it comes in a semi-sweet Belgian cone. The serving is big; a single ice cream cone can be shared by two persons. I loved it! Better than the yogurt from Yogie Island and it also costs only a fraction of it.

Mini-Stop's soft ice cream
The Verdict: 
I could never be a "sosyal" person. Sorry, but if I want a good tasting yogurt plus benefits, I'd rather buy one from the grocery.

My Modern Grecian Themed Gown Is Love!

My Grecian themed gown
"Platinum white modern Grecian themed gown in multiple layered silk gaze faconne. Embellished w/ Swarovski stones, caviar beads, faux ivory stones and mother of pearls."
I had my measurement today at Amang’s shop and fell in love w/ his design! I have 82 days left before the big day. At least two more months to lose the baby weight, two more months of South Beach w/out sweets and carbs, two more months of jogging and yoga. The pressure is nerveracking, but my modern Grecian themed gown is LOVE!!! Ugh, the urgency is distressing but I'm loving every bit of it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pixel Fetish: Dispersive Refraction

Calatagan, Batangas: 03.21.2008

Calatagan, Batangas: 05.04.2009

Calatagan, Batangas: 03.19.2010

Calatagan, Batangas: 08.24.2010
A brilliant red sunset fading into a bruised purple afterglow conjures up images of tropical paradise and romance, while the blue sky on a sunny day can put a bounce in your step.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Macabre

My Japa Mala

It all started when I began reading about Eastern Philosophies-- blame it on the bookworm in me and the professor who introduced it to me.

I started buying Buddhist philosophical books and tricked my Mom into thinking that I need them for school research. I was so enticed w/ the life of Gautama Buddha, the Buddhist thought and its practice. According to Buddhism, the rationale behind leading a meaningful life is to have ethics. A person should always strive towards increasing the welfare of not only his own, but of all the living beings. This will help in cessation of suffering, which is so widely prevalent in this world. It took me some time to familiarize myself w/ the Eightfold Path. 

It was year 2004 that I decided to apply the practice to my mundane life. And what do you know? My mundane life was not so mundane anymore. 

I decided to be a vegetarian—which in my case, the most difficult part of the practice. I used to be a meat loving person. Every weekend, I look forward to dining out to have my favorite Garlic Steak. I used to love my Mom’s Porkchops and enjoy cooking Sinigang na Baboy. To avoid eating red meat—I did the most appalling way, I watched a lot of PETA CDs and all sorts of videos on how to butcher cattle. In less than 6mos I stopped eating red meat and never tried it again.

Choosing a belief that totally contradicts w/ your family can mess up a lot of things. When my Mom found at that I’m practicing Buddhism, our relationship became chaotic. Who can blame her? She raised me a Roman Catholic. I came from a Catholic school. She kept rosaries and bibles of different versions in our house. We practice the non-meat eating tradition during Holy Weeks. We religiously go to church every Sunday. She used to think that I’m just confused because I’ve been through a lot. Having a teenage pregnancy is no big joke. My boyfriend that time was a big jerk. It robbed the most important part of my being—my adolescent life. She urged me to go to church in a regular basis, to stop reading books—always insisting that too much reading gave me clouded thoughts, that I better read The Bible instead. Arguing w/ her is exhausting and completely pointless. It never stopped, it went on for years. I broke her heart and she broke mine as well.

I found work two years ago. Before work started, I used to attend Bhakti-Yoga every Friday. Not to confuse it w/ Buddhism, Bhakti-Yoga is an ISKCON congregation. The movement is somewhat similar to Hinduism. It introduced me to practice chanting which I haven’t done before. Chanting, or the yoga of sound as it is known, has been used as a means to connect with the divine. Chanting is also a way of preserving health and well-being-- even medical science has accepted this. My Guru gave me my first Japa Mala Beads so I can religiously do chanting. I was ecstatic. Every day I would hold on to my Japa Mala and chant while doing chores, before sleeping and upon waking up. When I chant, I’m a happier person. It’s like I’m a little ball of sunshine only that I’m not little. When work started, I became too preoccupied. It consumed a lot of my time. I was always tired, always forgetting things. I stopped chanting. I stopped attending Bhakti-Yoga and someone from our house threw away my Japa Mala Beads. I really don’t know if it’s my Mom, it’s still a mystery up to now. 

My hubby never understood my fascination w/ Buddhist beliefs. At times, talking about religion would just end up in a heated argument. He used to complain why I have to be so different. Again, history is repeating itself. But when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it (I’m quoting from Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist). It’s no coincidence that I stumbled upon learning Eastern Philosophies. I still believe to this day that I was destined to follow this path. 

Last month, my husband and I went to my Guru’s place to visit and tell him that I’m getting married. I was so happy to see him. The last time I saw him was two years ago. He gave me books and to my surprise, my second Japa Mala Beads. I’m suddenly back to chanting again. Hubby got used of seeing me chant while we watch TV. I now mastered the art of arguing w/out raising a voice. It did me good and he took the credit. I already accepted the fact that we’ll always have contradictory beliefs, that we could never be the same. It saddens me but you got to do what you have to do.

I'm far from being good, but I strongly abide by The Golden Rule. I think it’s enough reason for my loved ones to see that maybe being different is not so bad after all-- being different made me a better person.  

Pixel Fetish: Romancing the Poignant

SM MOA grounds: 07.21.2010

SM MOA grounds: 07.21.2010

Tofu Overload

My own version of Mongolian Vegetarian bowl


fried tofu cut into squares
bean sprouts
green bell pepper
Chinese cabbage
onion chives
white onion
toasted sesame seeds 
sesame oil, chili, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper

 To Cook:

1. Heat 1tsp of cooking oil in a wok pan, add in sesame oil.

2. Saute garlic until golden brown, add onions and saute until translucent.

3. Turn the stove into high heat. Add in bean sprouts, tofu, carrots, green bell pepper, Chinese cabbage- in that order. Add in chili, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper. Adjust the quantity according to taste. Toss in occasionally. Do not overcook.

4. Serve in individual bowls sprinkled w/ onion chives and toasted sesame seeds.

Healthy, easy to make and so yummy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why I’m Back To Blogging

Me: “What’s w/ Facebook anyway? Why all the fuss?”
My sister: “It’s an improved version of Friendster, plus cool applications. Why not make one?”

Why not?

I created my Facebook account two years ago (Yes, I’m a late bloomer) primarily because my siblings and my hubby has it. Facebook is a great way to kill time especially when you’re super bored, re-connect with long lost friends, schoolmates, batch mates and relatives from faraway places.

I never understood people who update status several hours a day—more than 5x a day is too much, or how someone would tell the world (to know) exactly what they’re doing as of the moment—e.g. : “Having some retail therapy @ATC”, brag about their recent travel or the things they had just bought. I used to tell myself: “The hell I care, I don’t give a sh*t!” But that perception changed early this year. Well the first few months weren’t that obvious. I mean, I would post status updates in a weekly basis, post pictures from time to time and that’s about it. Without me knowing it, I’m already hooked. 

Last week, I read from a Yahoo article about Facebook addiction only to disgust myself that I have the early signs of it. At first, I was in denial, later on that I realized I’m somehow addicted to it. It used up my free time checking on friends’ status updates, commenting to threads, answering stupid surveys, using the “LIKE” button too much. Suddenly, what others might think, matters to me. From what I read, the most effective way to eradicate the addiction is to go “cold turkey” which is also the hardest especially if you’re stuck in the house w/ no cable TV and you have nothing else to do—poor me.

I can’t go cold turkey, not just yet. I’m not that addicted anyway, but I have to do something about it before it worsens. This has to stop. I did things to keep my mind off Facebook. I’m back to yoga and chanting (again). I make it a point to finish at least 1-2 books in a week. Spending most of my time in the kitchen cooking complicated dishes. Playing w/ my kids, eating cheese and drinking wine w/ hubby while watching reruns of our favorite TV series in DVDs. I decided to write/blog again.

Writing, (again), saved my sanity. I’m glad I’m back to my old self.

Wedding Jitters

Canyon Cove, Nasugbu, Batangas

"Here, in front of the summer hotel
the beach waits like an altar."
-Anne Sexton

Except that it's not summer, more likely a cold December hotel.

I can't wait.

Sustainable Living


Ever since when I was little, my pesky allergies never failed to harass me. Skin allergy, food allergy, allergic rhinitis- name it, I probably had it. After many years of taking steroidal cream for my skin allergies & inhaling steroids for my asthma-- consuming so many steroids in almost a quarter of my life; I decided to stop taking in my meds and switched to “alternative medicine”. Besides I read sometime in early 2k’s the damaging effects of synthetic drugs to our body. The inner earth child in me gave Mother Nature a chance to interfere w/ my perplexed health condition. 

My Mom used to make us “Lagundi” tea when we were little. My siblings and I have bronchial asthma, even w/ our asthma meds; she would still incorporate her “herbal” knowledge to cure us (very typical Filipino mom). Be it a cold, flu or in this case—our asthma. She would boil fresh Lagundi leaves and we're forced to drink a tall glass of that gross tea, far worse than drinking ABS Bitter Herbs tea! Like they always say a mother knows best, she deserves a lot more credit that we give her. It cured our asthma and saved us a lot of money from buying meds and asthma inhalers.

I gave up eating meat 5 years ago not as a cure but because of the faith that I seek (but that’s another story and shall be told another time). My mom—a purist Catholic was bothered by this; I really annoyed her to say the least. There would be times that she’d be so furious that she wants me kicked out of the house for good. When eating, I still have to cook my own meal when she already cooked for us. Stating facts that I have senseless beliefs, (M: “You need to stop what you’re doing because it would ruin your health and the ever famous line: Kung ayaw mo sumunod, lumayas ka sa pamamahay ko”) Arguing w/ her is completely pointless. I’m disheartened but it cured my skin allergies! I stopped using that disgusting sulfur soap—the smell I really hate, that made my skin so dry! My skin became smoother and clearer, I seldom get sick, I don’t feel bloated even if I overeat and it also led me to yoga. I'm hitting two birds w/ one stone.

With the entire rave for organic products recently, I conformed and finally gave it a try. I’ve been a fan of natural products way back, but I didn’t know then that natural produce is different from organic produce. I used to hoard my cosmetics and body care products from The Body Shop and The Face Shop, thinking that I was doing something good for my skin and the environment only to find out the large number of chemical ingredients included in each product that they sell! Parabens, Petroleum, Mineral oil, SLES, etc-- I effing hate commercialism! I did a lot of reading and research. I remember I used to bombard my online seller w/ gazillion questions about organic produce, their benefits and the like.  Last year when I got pregnant, I replaced all my bath and skin care products with organic ones. It cured my allergic rhinitis; I don’t wake up in the morning looking like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer anymore! It made my skin glow (or maybe because I was pregnant that time), I don’t have the occasional pimples that I get from clogged pores (anymore). What can I say? I became a convert. I get to support causes for our environment by purchasing locally organic products and satisfy my vain self at the same time. Talk about beautifying w/ a cause.

The human body is generally “designed” to be self-healing and will heal if the proper conditions conducive to healing are re-established. Nature has its own way of providing us what we need to keep ourselves healthy and to cure us from certain diseases. Give nature a chance. Who knows you could be hitting two birds w/ one stone as well?

I’m Back To Blogging!

For years I’ve been in a love-hate relationship w/ online blogging. I abandoned several blog sites (which I painstakingly created—the OC in me) after 4-5 blog entries. I’ve been making excuses like constantly forgetting usernames and passwords, not enough creative juices to make a decent entry (Me:  Today’s not my day, maybe tomorrow I can write something acceptable or appropriate) OR me just being lazy. And then I realized that life is too short to waste on petty things. Might as well do what I love doing.

There are 5 things that I love about life-- my faith, my family, my penchant for the environment, my love for reading and writing (or blogging,whatever you call it). There’s something about writing that makes me feel safe. When I’m writing my mind is at peace, I can be myself. I don’t need to conform to society’s description of what’s “normal”. And I loved how it felt.

Since I already resigned from work and I’m a full time mommy now, I have all the time I need to blog (again). Note to self: No more lame excuses. Finally after a long time, I’m back to blogging again, well I hope.