Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sunday Family Style:Stevie's Hainanese Chicken

Sundays are sacred. We get together as a family no matter what happens. And when my family decides to eat, we EAT. Thanks to my Dad who had such high standards when it came to food, it all rubbed off on the rest of us somehow. My brother decided to order Stevie's Hainanese Chicken this time. I had tried it once before at a friend's party, but I arrived late, so I didn't really get to enjoy it much. This time, I made sure I had enough to make me and my tummy happy.

Here was the spread at the dinner table. The noodle dish (Sotanghon Satay) on the left side of the photo is from a small, neighborhood Chinese restaurant that's close to our house called PVL. If you're from my area, you would know which place I'm talking about. They have really good food and so cheap too.

Now back to Stevie's...
I had all the time to savor the food this time around and I really did. I zoomed in on the chicken and the rice right away, having had the Sotanghon Satay from PVL like a million times before. I'm a chicken person. I can eat chicken in different versions every single day and not complain a bit. In fact, I've always been partial to chicken cooked the Asian way. Hence, Hainanese Chicken has always been on top of my list of choices. On previous trips to Singapore, I would order the same thing regardless of where we ate, just to see which place served the best kind. 
Let me be extremely specific about my experience

The chicken - Fat but not in a sinful kind of way, which is just the way I like it. They use a whole chicken per order (as stated in their Facebook page) so expect a very generous portion that's really good for sharing with the family or a group of friends. The sauce that comes with the chicken in the container is so good, most of you will probably opt not to use the sauces that come with your order. 

The rice - Fluffy and fragrant! On the way home after we picked up our orders, the smell of the rice enveloped the entire van and I was dying inside, starving and desperate for a spoon LOL! 

The sauces - there were four kinds: sweet soy sauce, ginger, chili and topping sauce. I tried all and my favorite was the sweet soy sauce (I wonder if any supermarket carries this type) followed by the toppings sauce, which I think is the same sauce that the chicken floated in. 

I haven't had Hainanese Chicken this good since my last Singapore vacation ... really! 

For just P980 an order, this is definitely worth it. It lasted us until lunchtime the next day and we were sad when we finally finished everything. 

It's the perfect thing to bring to a potluck gathering because it won't disappoint. 

Stevie's operates out of a house in Bel-Air Makati, so this is strictly for pick-up basis only. 
Call them at 0906 508-4155 to order. Give it a day just to be safe because from what I hear, they've become so popular. 

You can check out their Facebook page here

I want more!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Shi Lin : Impromptu Lunch

First time here as a family. Some things are better done unplanned. This was totally a last-minute thing. Unfortunately, N and Anissa couldn't join us. The former was busy with work and my big girl was in school. I haven't been so full in a long time!

I was a bit surprised that we didn't have to wait too long for our orders to arrive, considering how packed the restaurant was (we went to the Podium Mall branch). 

Clockwise from left : 

Century Egg
Spicy Jellyfish (favorite!)
Pickled Cabbage (5 stars)
Hot n Sour Soup (10 stars, soooo good!)

 Clockwise from left:

Steamed Spinach (baby girl's fave)
Fried Porkchop (not bad)
Shrimp Dumplings (yum yum)
The famous Xiao Long Bao (2 thumbs up!)

Clockwise from left:

Pork Wanton Noodles (also baby girl's order)
Fried Rice with Shrimps
Salt n Pepper Squid (another winner)
My favorite dessert, Almond Jelly with Lychee

How many people ate all of these? LOL. Look below.

I enjoyed the food A LOT.
But this was really the best part. Digging into all those delicious dishes with my foodie family.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Slice at Boni High Street Central

I don't remember the last time I was in Boni High Street. It's been a while because this was my first time to see the new portion. N had a meeting with BFF's hubby, so BFF and I decided to tag along. 

I suggested that we all meet at SLICE because I've been reading good reviews about the place. Funny though that at 3pm, I wasn't really hungry. 

The one on the left is what I had. It was the last piece in the chiller so I grabbed the chance. I've always been more partial to vanilla or lemon-flavored cupcakes. The pink icing really looked tempting, too. My BFF had the Double Choco Yema cake, which is a best-seller. See all that creamy yema on top? This was good, too!

I had to buy pasalubong for the kids. They really loved this.

I got them a small box containing 4 of these. I haven't tried them. In fact, I'm not so sure that there are any left in the fridge after I heard my girls' "ooohs" and "aaahhs" when they tasted it.

I regret that I didn't get to try anything else. I'm so intrigued by their meals, especially their version of Arroz Caldo using brown rice. I know, I know. I'm not really a healthy-eater. But I saw a photo of it and it looks really good. 

Hoping to go back soon.

SLICE is at Bonifacio High Street Central, in between Jamba Juice and Mango

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Thoughts

Waking up early to gloomy weather always puts me in a thinking mood. I've been wanting to share my thoughts on this since yesterday, but I wanted to gather them first. This article hits me in all the right places due to my Dad's recent passing. It got me wondering about how I live my life as well.

Thanks to my Twitter friend, C, for sharing it the other day. Allow me to dissect each entry...


I wish I'd had the courage to live a life that's true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

I've always believed firmly in living my life the way I want to, no matter how others see it. Of course, how one wants to live his/her life is also questionable here. Needless to say, you go through life doing what's right for yourself and your family, regardless of what people think. The important thing to remember is this : you answer first and foremost to God, to yourself and to your loved ones (in my case, I always say, my children). Because at the end of the day, how you live your life, the choices you make greatly impact only them.

I wish I didn't work so hard.

This is easier said than done. When you need to get up each day to work so you can put food on the table and provide well for your family, it's easy to get lost. But it's true. No matter how important it is to work and provide, we must find the time to spend with the people who matter most to us : our spouses, our children, parents, siblings. For what good is a home filled with things money can buy, but lacking in happiness, peace and contentment? Weigh your priorities and know when to say "enough is enough".

I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

I'll try my best not to generalize. But in my case, the men in my family have always had this problem. I sometimes wonder if my Dad is saying this to himself now. He was a disciplinarian, an old-school kind of parent. He didn't feel right about showing his weak side to us. He was always so critical of everyone and everything, and not generous with his praises. He was a typical father in many angles. But when my children came, this totally changed.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

When my time comes, I know that this won't be in my list of regrets. We all need to have our friends in our lives. This is not to undermine the importance of family. Friends give us a different kind of satisfaction, the kind that we need for us to grow. They are one of my biggest blessings, my friends.

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

It's been said many times - the choice to be happy is ours. Let's not be too busy making others happy that we fail to think of or choose to neglect ourselves. Seriously ... how do you successfully create happiness around you and for the people you love when you don't feel the need to be happy yourself?

That said, I have bookmarked this site for future reading. It's good to remind ourselves and not wait for others to give us a nudge.

You can find the original article here.

I hope you all have a good and safe Sunday!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sweet Friday

Except for Sunday dinners with the family, I now prefer to stay at home on weekends. Yes, even if I'm already home 80% of the time the rest of the week. That, my dears, is brought to you by no less than AGE. Hahaha!

But yesterday was an exception. I had been craving for The Sweet Life by Ange's Camote Chips for days, especially the Salty Sweet version. The other flavors don't make me as happy. So I decided to make a quick stop at the Baker's Fair in Power Plant Mall. 

I happily snagged 3 bags

They sell for P150 each, not exactly cheap. But they're so good, I just had to stock up.

I also ended up buying two whole cakes when I saw that Costa Brava had a table there. One for the house and the other to contribute to this Sunday's dinner

Caramel Cake on the left and old-school Marshmallow Icing cake (which my Mom LOVES)

I had to stop myself from buying more because we don't have one of those gigantic refrigerators at home and the kids still have some sweets stored in there from my trip to Boni High Street last Thursday. I really should slow down on my sugar intake. 

Sigh. But how?

The Grand Finale

That's what people have told me over and over again, whenever I complained and told them that my Dad hasn't "visited" me yet since he passed. I think it's pretty normal for someone to wait for something like this to happen, especially if the passing of a loved one is sudden. 

It's been almost 2 months and both my Mom and brother have shared numerous stories about feeling my Dad's presence around them, while I have had nothing to say except, "buti pa kayo". Friends and family have said to me that the reason I haven't experienced the same thing is 'cause my Dad is least worried about me. I believed it. But it didn't diminish the desire to feel him around me. 

I've heard of similar stories from many others who have lost a loved one. I began to wonder when my time will come and honestly, I kept waiting for it to happen, to my disappointment. My cousin, who says she always dreams of dearly departed friends and family members, recently texted me to say she dreamt of my Dad. Another story I couldn't relate to. He didn't appear to me in my dreams either. Nothing. So when I told her this, she said, "Just expect it when you least expect it, Ate. It will come." 

I think I kinda stopped hoping and finally listened to what everyone's been telling me. 

They were right.

A few hours ago while I was fast asleep, I felt it. No, it wasn't a dream. Not totally. (But if it was, it felt so real.) I know I was awake, or atleast half-awake when it happened. I was sleeping on my side, hugging my baby girl like I always do, when all of a sudden, my entire back felt SO COLD. It's like someone rubbed a whole jar of Vick's Vaporub --- is that supposed to be hot? Well anyway, it felt something like that. Then all my hairs stood up, all the way to my scalp. The feeling stayed for a good 10 minutes, I swear. I felt myself smile because I knew, without a doubt, what was happening. I had never experienced anything like it before. Unlike some people (my Mom and brother included) who have a heightened sensitivity to these things and the unseen, I have zero. I don't have stories to share about ghosts and the like. Not even when others in the same place had experiences about feeling a sense of being watched or anything of the sort. I had always been the "odd one out" in these situations. But this time, I was 101% sure I was going through it. 

I decided to blog about it because I know it's nothing out of the ordinary and a lot of people will believe that it did happen. In other words, I don't think my readers will think strangely of me after this.

My Dad finally paid me a long overdue and much-awaited visit and I'm so happy he did. Then again, I can't help but think about what people have said to me. They kept telling me that maybe he was saving me for last. I kinda think this is true. So does this mean he was saying his final goodbye? That was a long hug he gave me, so I can't help but think that they might be right.

Daddy, if that was really your way of saying that you're off to the happy place now, then I'm happy na rin. I can't thank you enough for making that one last stop for me. For the tight and long hug you gave me (sure felt like one), for granting my wish. 

Rainy Weekend

This is how our bedroom looks right now. It's so dark outside, the rain won't let up and according to the news, it will be this way the whole weekend.

Stay indoors, everyone. Be dry and safe.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reposting ...

I'm reposting this quote because it's appropriate.

Last night was looney night. I refer to my meltdowns as looney moments. Why? Because they hit me without warning, they come from nowhere and at the most unexpected (sometimes most embarassing) times. Looney moments are when I'm suddenly hit with thoughts of my Dad and I start crying uncontrollably. Good thing I was home last night, in bed, and everyone was fast asleep.

I cried for a good 20 minutes, waking N up slightly. When these moments come, I can't hold back. I just have to let it all out. One good cry and then I'm okay again.

That's why I call them Looney moments. It's just so fortunate that today is Sunday and I'm going to church. I'll be able to find comfort there and I'm looking forward to getting some.

Hope you all have a blessed and peaceful Sunday with your loved ones.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Peplum Trend

Peplum : a short overskirt that is usually attached to a fitted jacket, blouse or dress. (Wikipedia)

I've been seeing a lot of this style in the last couple of months but hesitant to buy something even similar to it. Here's why.

You need to have a really defined waistline to be able to pull this off wonderfully. I don't have one haha. I lost mine years ago after giving birth. It just doesn't exist anymore. 

Just look again

How on earth?? They look like 22-inch waistlines to me. Mine is ... nevermind. I'm too embarassed to say. I especially like the dress in the middle though.

To hide the fact that my waistline has abandoned me, I would most likely go for something in black, like this number from Dorothy Perkins

Or this skirt from Mango which I wrote about sometime ago

Why are most dresses now cap-sleeved? Another thing that doesn't work for me. But with short sleeves, this Zara dress will work.

Can I really pull this off? Thinking about it some more.

P.S. It's Saturday! Kick back and enjoy the weekend!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Father's Love by Gary V.

"No matter where you go always know ... you can depend on your father's love"

Probably the most powerful and touching song about the love that can only come from one's father. Mine has gone ahead but nothing can ever take away the fact that he loved me like no other, and will continue to love me just as much from where he is now. 

I'll see you again one day, Dad.
I love you so much.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I almost forgot to say thank you...

I think it's pretty safe to say that the entire nation is in mourning. 

Weeks ago, when I first heard that Mang Dolphy was in the ICU, I had a bad feeling about it. COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is no joke. And for someone his age to be battling with it, was a really scary thought. Let me just say that I never knew him, nor any member of his family. But I guess you don't have to know him to admire or respect him. He was so different from all the others in his league or profession. But because I didn't know him, I have little to say about him.

Except maybe this...

One Sunday many years ago, my family and I walked into Rustan's Makati. Back then, the Ferragamo section was right by the store's entrance. We stopped by that area and found Mang Dolphy trying on shoes. My Dad (who was still an ABS-CBN executive at the time approached him to say hello. My Dad was also a funny guy, he was known for his great sense of humor. He went up to Mang Dolphy and said, "Sir, tirahan mo naman ako. Baka ubusin mo na lahat.". Mang Dolphy laughed when he recognized who was talking to him then replied, "Sir, naka bonus lang po ng konti. Kaya konting shopping din po. Inunahan ko lang kayo kasi baka ako ang maubusan." They laughed together, exchanged a few words, Daddy introduced the rest of us then we said goodbye. That was it. That was my only encounter with the man. Although it lasted no more than 10 or 15 minutes, the impression it left lasted for many years after that. He was genuine, so real. So humble and kind. I saw it in his eyes. I'm sad just like everyone else is. Moreso because I'm also still grieving my Dad's death. I think of Mang Dolphy's children and I cry tears for them. I think of his partner, Zsa Zsa, and I'm reminded of my Mom's pain and I cry for her, too. I know exactly what they're going through. 

While watching all the tributes to him today, culminating in the necrological service at ABS-CBN, I was transported back to those days when my Dad lay in state at Christ The King. I suddenly felt the pain all over again, recalling what it was like for me the day we all went to ABS-CBN for the necrological service they held for my Dad. Then I realized, I had not written about that day yet. 

I might as well do it now to get it over with. I'm feeling sad anyway so I might as well give it a go and then hopefully wake up feeling better later.

My Dad's former staff and colleagues went through a lot of trouble to prepare for his homecoming

It was really bittersweet, seeing everyone he cared for and who cared for and loved him all those years he was part of the ABS-CBN family. Around 2 decades, if memory serves.

Watching the service for Mang Dolphy last night brought me to tears because memories of this day came rushing back

We were extremely overwhelmed by the show of love and support from all

Angeline Quinto sang a beautiful "Tanging Yaman", one of my favorite church songs

It wasn't easy getting up on that stage to talk about my Dad. I smiled one minute and cried the next.

It's been close to 2 months since I lost my first love. I'm not sure what to say about the pain. It's like a dull headache that won't go away, that's for sure. But everyday, it gets just a tiny bit better. I thank God for the gift of acceptance and strength, as I face each day without Daddy by my side, as I struggle to answer my little girl's questions about Lolo and if he will ever come back to us, as I look at my eldest child and wonder if in her silence she's alright, as I watch my Mom deal with her pain and my brother with his.

Life isn't the same, but it goes on.

I miss you so much, Daddy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Konjac Sponges are here!

It's always so nice to get something in the mail. Even better when it's a wonderfully unexpected surprise! When I came home from Calatagan last weekend, I found these waiting for me at home.

My friend has been raving about them and I couldn't wait to try them myself. I got one sponge for the body and another one for the face.

6 Wave Body Sponge Product Description:

100% natural fibre
100% Biodegradable
Soft & Gentle
Ph balanced
Naturally deep Cleansing
Kind to mother earth

Sponge for all skin types & safe for babies and children. It is designed to gently exfoliate, soothe, and cleanse all over.

Exfoliate is vital to maintaining clear, healthy skin but is often a step we forget at shower or bath time.

Best for scrubbing … A great scrub not only will slough away dead skin cells but also stimulates skin so that more blood flows to that area, leaving your legs polished and primed for increased moisturizer absorption, and giving a healthy glow. Also helping reduce blemishes.

Better for your skin, better on the environment and better for babies too!

We are all natural so spoil yourself without feeling of guilt.

Volcano Stone Facial Sponge Product Description:

100% natural fibre
100% Biodegradable
Soft & Gentle
Ph balanced
Naturally deep Cleansing
Kind to mother earth

Sponge for all skin types & safe for babies and children. It is designed to gently exfoliate, soothe, and cleanse all over.

Exfoliate is vital to maintaining clear, healthy skin but is often a step we forget at shower or bath time.

Best for scrubbing … A great scrub not only will slough away dead skin cells but also stimulates skin so that more blood flows to that area, leaving your legs polished and primed for increased moisturizer absorption, and giving a healthy glow. Also helping reduce blemishes.

Better for your skin, better on the environment and better for babies too!

We are all natural so spoil yourself without feeling of guilt.

Other than these two, you can also choose to get any of the following:

Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge - contains activated carbon and minerals that enhance absorptive ability, perfect for removing excess oil.

Moon Korean Ochre Facial Sponge - made of 100% pure vegetable fiber. For all skin types, even for sensitive skin.

Moon Original Facial Sponge - Safe for babies and children.

I just went through the FAQs on the Konjac website and I realized I've been doing something wrong : hanging them inside the shower stall. Yikes! They should be hung in an airy place to dry, not inside the shower stall where it's damp. My bad!

The site also says the sponges can last anywhere from 1-3 months, depending on how you use them. Not bad for the price of less than P400 each. Bang for your buck! The best part for me though is the fact that it's 100% natural, eco-friendly and made from pure plant roots.

I've only been using them for 2 days, but each time I do, my skin feels softer than usual - promise! My facial skin has grainy (for lack of a better term) portions and these have slightly diminished in the past couple of days. The body sponge has the same effect. They really work.

Head on over to Updated Trends in Multiply to order yours. They're absolutely worth trying.
I can't wait to see the results weeks from now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our Awesome Weekend

The family went on a much-needed respite and was privileged to have stayed at this beautiful place somewhere in the south. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to say whose property this is, upon the owner's request. I was a bit sad that my Anissa wasn't able to join us on this trip due to dance rehearsals for the dance concert she'll be performing in tonight. I'm hoping we can go back sometime in the not-so-distant future. 

The stay was extremely short, just one night. So I had to make sure to take in as much as I could while I  was there. I'll let the photos speak for themselves because really ... this place was so amazing, I was speechless most of the time. 

Pool Area

A portion of the huge balcony of the house where we stayed

The walkway outside the house that was assigned to us

At the foyer on the 2nd floor of our house, this door led to our bedroom. Awesome detail.

Our house was Filipiniana-themed. I loved these capiz windows.

The main road leading to the main property. So well-maintained. 

So much more to see 

These are just photos I took using my iPhone 4s (fab quality, huh? my poor Lumix has been sitting in the dry cabinet for months!). There are more photos in N's DSLR camera. I will share those as soon as he's converted them. 

Oh this place ... until today, I have only dreamed of going to a place as beautiful as this. 

More soon!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mint + Yellow

One of my favorite combinations at the moment. There's a special reason for this but ...

I'm dying inside because I can't say why just yet!!!

They're such happy colors but they're not loud. I don't have a thing against loud shades. I just sometimes like my colors on the subdued side. Arghhhhh. (that's me sounding frustrated because I have to be cryptic)

Here's more. Look look look!

I'm definitely going for these two. Definitely. 

I can't wait to say why!