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11.29.2014

Foodie Goodie | Sauteed Bokchoy with Tofu.

That I love tofu is no secret. I've mentioned it in this blog several times before, and if you're following me on Instagram, you've probably seen photos of tofu dishes that I cook/eat. Today, I tried something new with tofu. It's a recipe I learned from my sister-in-law, which I tweaked a bit. :)

Sauteed Bokchoy with Tofu

Ingredients:
1 package tofu, drained and cubed
2 bundles of bokchoy, trimmed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 cup of chicken broth
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Salt and pepper

Procedure:
1. Fry the diced tofu until brown and crisp. Drain and set aside.
2. In the same pan, saute the garlic and onion.
3. Put back the tofu, then add the oyster sauce and half-cup of water. Simmer for a minute or two.
4. Put the bockhoy, then add the chicken broth. Simmer for a few minutes or until the bokchoy has softened.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with steamed rice.



11.28.2014

One FC: Warrior's Way | Brandon Vera's Homecoming.

Most were left intrigued when mixed martial arts superstar Brandon Vera spoke in Tagalog during the press conference held at NBA Cafe last September 3. In the said event, Vera's One FC signing was announced, as well as his debut match which will be held on December 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

It is not an uncommon fact that there are some Filipinos who would change their accent the moment they land in the US, even for a short holiday. One then wonders why Brandon Michael Vera, a US citizen, would imprint the alibata - an ancient writing system that now only appears on history books - on his back for all the world to see. He fought for 8 years in another organization and during his fights, he would bear the Philippine flag as he walked down the Octagon, or would have its logo imprinted on his fighting gear.
Tracing his roots.
Photo credit: Brandon Vera.
Brandon was left by his Italian-American mother at age 3. Eventually, he was raised by a Filipina step-mom and a Filipina grandma who taught him and his siblings to eat with his hands (kamayan). He is an expert at it and that skill became evident when Mark Zambrano of GMA-7 had a one-on-one interview with him at Kamayan restaurant last October.

Who among us even bothers to eat without utensils? Is it not that we have this ardent desire to depart from what our culture has inculcated on us? Then here comes Brandon with all the privileges of an American citizen, born and raised in the land of milk and honey, and he attempts to have a dual citizenship. Isn't it ironic?
Living the country life.
Photo credit: Brandon Vera.
Perhaps because he was abandoned by his mother at such a young age, perhaps it is his need to put down his roots to what he wants to call home, perhaps he just wants to become closer to his Filipino fans. Whatever it is, let us welcome him home, as he has done so much more than most Filipinos who were born and raised here in terms of embracing culture and heritage and being immensely proud of his roots.

Welcome home Brandon! See you on Dec. 5!


11.27.2014

Inspiring success through world-class education.

In another game-changing move, Globe myBusiness launches its world-class education solutions portfolio that enables educators and students alike easy access to the latest technologies, tools, and content.  Included in this portfolio are the following:

Brightspace, an integrated learning program from Desire2Learn
Brightspace enables teachers to deliver quality instructions and create learning experiences tailor-fit to students’ individual needs, and track progress.

Educube, a school management system from Globals, Inc.
This offers easier and better control on various processes (e.g. student admission, fee billing, curriculum setting, timetabling, academic achievements, etc.) in the education institution.

eBooks from Flipside Publishing
This provides schools with relevant and updated content, and aid local publishers and independent authors meet international standards in eBook production and retailing.

These ground-breaking offers are part of Globe myBusiness' thrust of enabling success among small and medium businesses (SMB), particularly in the education sector.

Education businesses such as schools and content publishers can benefit from these technology-based offers as the products ensure cost efficiency as well as more effective and streamlined processes aligned with global standards. These include Integrated Learning Programs which enable teachers to deliver quality instructions and create learning experiences tailor-fit to students’ individual needs and objectives, and track progress and improve learning, School Management Systems which offer easier and better control on various processes (e.g. student admission, fee billing, curriculum setting, timetabling, academic achievements, etc.) in the education institution, and eBook Solutions which provide schools with relevant and updated content, and aid local publishers and independent authors meet international standards in eBook production and retailing.
Globe Education Solution Launch.
In photo showcasing another innovation from the trusted business advisor are (from left) Globe Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for International and Business Markets Gil Genio (leftmost), Globe Senior Vice President for myBusiness Martha Sazon (center), Globals CEO & President Suhas Gopinath  (Sazon’s right), Desire2Learn President & CEO John Baker  (Sazon’s left), Flipside Publishing, Inc. President & CEO Anthony de Luna and General Manager James Pacaba, with other Globe myBusiness executives and representatives.

For more information on Globe Education Solutions, send an email to educationsolutions@globe.com.ph.


11.26.2014

How To Choose the Right Pool Fencing in Brisbane.

In 2010, the Queensland Government introduced pool safety regulations which dictate the requirements necessary in order to ensure that your pool is safe. Pool fencing is one of those requirements that help keep your pool in compliance. But not just any type of pool fencing will suffice. Depending on a variety of factors, you’ll need to ensure that your pool fencing meets the regulatory laws, while also ensuring that the fence fits into your home’s decor and ambiance. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right pool fencing for your Brisbane pool.
Vinyl pool fencing.
1. Research Materials.
The materials from which your fence will be made will dictate what your home looks like for decades. What fence is ideal for you? You’ll have to factor in both economics as well as appearance for this. Most pool fencings are made from aluminum, wooden paling or good neighbour. Envision each of these styles in your home, and in your neighborhood. Which one fits best? That should be the material you focus on.

2. Work With a Design Expert.
Your design expert will help you to envision each of these fences in your home. In fact, he or she may be able to bring samples, so that you can truly picture what your pool fencing will look like. But design experts also offer other advantages. These designers have close ties to manufacturers and installers, which in turn can help save you a considerable amount of money on your total project.

3. Get Feedback From Those Who Know the Law. 
While your designer may claim he or she has an expertise in the laws regulating pool fencing, don’t take the chance that they’re wrong. Work directly with experts in the laws, so that you can rest easy knowing your pool fencing meets all the laws. Best yet, find a company that has designers and law experts in-house.

Your safe pool fencing in Brisbane has as much to do about the look, as it has to do with functionality. It can be a challenge to find a fence that matches your vision, but also meets compliancy. That’s why so many pool owners in Brisbane turn to The Big Tick.

The Big Tick not only has a specialized expertise in the laws governing your pool, but they’re experts in fencing, installation, maintenance, repair work and more. Learn more by visiting http://thebigtick.com.au/.


Wordless Wednesday #110 | Maggie and Me!





11.24.2014

Spotlight | Riri Hearts MAC Veluxe Pearlfusion Eyeshadow Palette.

I finally got my hands on the Riri Hearts MAC Veluxe Pearlfusion Eyeshadow Palette, which is part of the Riri Hearts MAC Holiday 2013 Collection. This is so last year (literally and figuratively), I know. But you know what they say, better late than never! :)
Riri Hearts MAC, finally!
2X Dare.
Made with the Veluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow formula which can be used wet or dry, this palette features silvery grays and muted browns that are noticeably shimmery and frosty. The packaging is simple yet exudes an aura of elegance - white palette, rose gold detailing, and a clear lid with Riri's logo and signature.
Simple yet sleek.
The topmost shade is a bright, frosty white with metallic finish.
The second shade is a muted, golden bronze with a metallic, glittery finish. It's too glittery that it tends to get all chunky and patchy when applied.
The third shade is a cool-toned, grayish taupe with a bit of bronze and silver sparkles.
The fourth shade is muted brown with a bit of sparkle to it. I love how this particular shade changes finish depending on how it is applied - semi-opaque when worn dry, and completely opaque when worn damp.
And finally, the bottom shade which is a cool-toned brown with plum undertones and a teeny, tiny bit of pearly shimmer.
A closer look at the shades.
Here's how the shades look like when swatched.
Swatches.
I'm a fan of eyeshadows with shimmery and metallic finish, so this palette is right up my alley. Save for the second shade which has a bit of fall-out and has a rather chunky texture, I'm super happy with this palette and thankful to my friend who sent this to me as a gift. :)

This palette retailed for $44 (around Php 2000) when it hit the market last year, I believe the price is still the same, though I can seem to find this item the last time I checked the MAC website. 

Have you tried this palette before? What's your favorite product from MAC? :)

11.23.2014

One FC: Warrior's Way | Roger Gracie returns to MMA action.

When you think about fighting families in the world of  mixed martial arts, only one name comes to mind. That is the legendary Gracie family, who were the inventors of the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They will now send one of their greatest descendants to do battle in the world-renowned One FC cage. The representative is multiple-time world grappling champion, Roger Gracie.
Roger Gracie gearing up for his One FC debut.
Roger Gracie is set to make his long-awaited debut for One FC on 5 December in Manila when he takes on knockout artist James McSweeney. McSweeney has professional kickboxing experience and will look to demonstrate his striking prowess against the grappler Gracie. Since coming to One FC, McSweeney has destroyed both light heavyweight and heavyweight opponents via knockout. This is a clash of two high profile athletes in the sport today.

Roger Gracie is an icon of the grappling world. He is the grandson of Carlos Gracie, the creator of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In 2005, he won both the heavyweight and absolute division tournaments at the prestigious ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship. He also won all of his bouts at the 2009 Mundials and have never been submitted in competition in more than ten years. He also has an impressive mixed martial arts record, notching up six victories thus far.

After his last bout a year ago, he was prepared to walk away from mixed martial arts. However, after speaking with a few close friends and One FC executives, he decided the itch for competition remains and decided that now was the time to come out to Asia to create a legacy.
Another Gracie in One FC!
"I am happy to sign with One FC. I had given up in fighting MMA, decided to go back to jiu-jitsu, but I got this offer and it changed my mind," Gracie said. "I’m going to do a few more MMA fights, and I still want to compete in jiu-jitsu."

He now teaches and owns an academy in London, England. Gracie has seen his cousins Igor, Gregor and Rolles Jr. all achieve mixed results in the One FC cage and is determined to do the legendary family proud by letting the world witness a Gracie become world champion once again. He has announced plans to compete at two weight classes and want to reign supreme at both classes.

Tickets for One FC: WARRIOR’S WAY on 5 December in Manila are on sale now at SM Tickets (http://www.smtickets.com). Ticket categories begin with the full Red Carpet and cageside experience for VIPs at PHP 6,360 followed by Patron PHP 3,180, Lower Box PHP 1,280, Upper Box PHP 640 and General Admission PHP 220. Prices include ticketing fee. Pre-sale packages are currently available.

Blast from the Past | Singapore Once More!

So, here's the second part of our Singapore adventure. As I've mentioned in my previous post, I'm reposting this entry from my old Livejournal blog. :)

From Sentosa, we went back to the city. We originally planned to have lunch at the island, but Mum didn't quite like the food choices there. Hence, we opted to eat somewhere along Orchard Road instead.

I asked our cab driver to take us to The Heeren - the one place that I badly, badly needed to go to while in Singapore. Naturally, being a football fan (and an Adidas girl), their Adidas store caught my eye.
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Chelsea's 2006 Home Kit!
But this is the store that I had to see (or else, it will be the death of me, har!). I had to stop myself from gawking at everything. And I mean everything. This is heaven for Havaianas addicts like me! :)
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NUMFlipflops is Havaianas love!
I walked away happy and contented, with three new Copa Mundial Havaianas in tow.

More photos and stories after the jump! :)

11.22.2014

Blast from the Past | Singapore Adventure!

Maybe because it was the weather, or because my birthday is fast approaching, but I was feeling nostalgic today. So nostalgic that I actually went through my old blog at Livejournal. Reading my posts made me miss the corporate world (I used to work for a telecommunications company), drinking and partying after work, not staying home at weekends (I was a complete wanderlust back then), spending and shopping like crazy without a care in the world (well, I still do this though not very often, lol).

Ah, I miss my twenties! Life was a lot simpler back then. And it was so easy for me to pack my bags and travel wherever I want. Now that I have a child of my own, and I have household expenses to consider, traveling has become a bit, well, challenging.

Anyway, since I'm doing this little trip down to memory lane, I'm reposting my Singapore adventure from eight years back. And by reposting, I mean I'm copy-pasting my post from Livejournal, haha.

Take me back to Singapore! :)
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The Merlion.


More photos and stories after the jump!

11.21.2014

Foodie Goodie | Pepper Lunch.

33 days to go 'til Christmas, and I've crossed out almost all of the items on my Christmas shopping list. Thanks to our Binondo/Divisoria shopping trip last week, I was able to accomplish almost 80% of this Herculean task within the span of ten hours. Crazy, I know!

My friends and I arrived at Lucky Chinatown Mall a few minutes after its doors opened, and from there we spent an entire day walking, haggling, and shopping along the streets of Binondo and at the 168 and 999 Mall. The only time we took a break from all that walking and shopping was when we had lunch at Pepper Lunch Express, located at the 4th floor of Lucky Chinatown Mall. I fell in love with their Beef Pepper Rice the first time I tried it (that was around four years ago, if my memory serves me right), and I've been a fan of their food ever since.

Founded in 1994 with its first establishment in Tokyo, Japan, Pepper Lunch now has over 200 restaurants all over Asia, including South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Its founder, Chef Kunio Ichinose had this business model in mind when he was conceptualizing the restaurant - provide tasty steak in fast food style at a reasonable price. And from there, the idea of 'sizzling it your way' (aka cooking your own food) was born.

At Pepper Lunch, meals are served on sizzling plates, which are actually electromagnetic cookers. They heat up to 260 degrees Celsius, which allows you to cook your raw meat within minutes.
Beef Pepper Rice, Php 198.
No worries about the meat being undercooked as they're sliced very thin, like bacon. When the meat is ready, mix it with amakuchi (honey brown sauce) or karakuchi (garlic soy sauce), or a combination of both.
Teriyaki Beef Pepper Rice with Egg, Php 235.
Some dishes are served with an egg, like the Teriyaki Beef Pepper Rice which my friend ordered. You mix the egg and the beef together, but before you do, make sure both of them are cooked all the way through. Then you mix in the teriyaki sauce.

Aside from beef, Pepper Lunch also serves fish and chicken. These dishes are served with vegetables on the hot plate, with the rice in a separate bowl. You can put the rice into the plate after you've cooked the meat, or you can just take spoonfuls from the bowl as you eat.
Teriyaki Double Salmon, Php 325.
Teriyaki Pepper Chicken, Php 325. 
Also on the menu are salads, soups, and desserts. My friend ordered a Kani Salad, which was served in a cup. Apparently, they're called 'Shake Shake Salad', which you have to shake (to mix the dressing and veggies together) before you eat it.
Kani Salad, Php 99.
If you're dining at Pepper Lunch for the first time, here are some tips:
1) Keep your hands off the electromagnetic cooker. They're extremely hot.
2) Cook your raw meat at once to maximize the heat of the electromagnetic plate. If you must take a photo of your raw food, do it within seconds. Or you can save the picture-taking for later, once the meat is cooked. :)
3) Season your meat with sauce. You can season them while turning the meat over, or after the meat is cooked. 
Pepper Lunch is love!
There are about ten Pepper Lunch restaurants in the Philippines, and six Pepper Lunch Express branches. They do takeaways and deliveries, and they accept group bookings and party reservations, too.

Pepper Lunch Express
4F Lucky Chinatown Mall
Binondo, Manila


11.20.2014

Pucker Up! | GAP Lip Gloss.

It's been drizzling non-stop since this morning, and the cold and gloomy weather gave me the perfect opportunity to wear my makeup darker than the usual. It's that time of the year when I rim my eyes tighter than the usual, and the plums, berries, and oxbloods in my lipstick collection are worn more often.

Today, I whipped out this chocolate brown lip gloss from my makeup stash - after being relegated to the bottom of the pile for months. I've had this lip gloss for quite sometime now (received this as a gift from Tita Mac, one of my favorite online sellers of branded US goods), but never had the chance to blog about it.
Lip Gloss from the Gap.
This one's from the GAP (apparently, the popular clothing brand also sells makeup), and I believe this lip gloss comes from the Color+Shine Lip Gloss Trio, which is available in GAP stores only. I did a bit of research on the pricing and found out that these glosses sell for around $12. Hence, each lip gloss costs only $4 (around Php 174).
Chocolate brown.
The packaging is pretty simple, and there's no shade or name indicated on the tube. But as you can see it's a dark, rich shade of burgundy brown. The color reminded me a lot of the lip products from Bobbi Brown's Black Velvet Collection
Doe-foot applicator.
It comes with a doe-foot applicator, and the plastic tube even has a mirror at the back. 
Mirror at the back.
This lip gloss has a minty, chocolate scent and leaves a cooling sensation on the lips when applied. I especially love how crazy pigmented this lip gloss is, considering that it's, well, a lip gloss. When swiped, you wouldn't even think it's a lip gloss because of its opaque texture and satiny matte finish.
One swipe on the left, two swipes on the right.
It's formulation is rather thick but not too sticky, and does not feel icky on the lips. And considering that it's a lip gloss, its wear time of four hours (at the most) is pretty decent than some of the lipstick brands that I've tried. 
GAP Lip Gloss when worn. Excuse the zit near my chin.
What I love:
- The yummy chocolate scent.
- The tingling, cooling sensation on the lips when applied.
- Highly pigmented.
- Opaque texture.
- Decent wear time.
- Affordable price.

What you might not like:
- Not sold individually.
- Available in-stores only.
Products Used:
FACE: Laneige Snow BB Cream, Missha Under Eye Brightener,
Skin 79 Skinny Mirror Pact.
EYES: Ever Bilena Eyebrow Pencil in Brown, BYS Waterproof Eyeliner,
Tony Moly Lovely Eye Liner Pencil, Fairy Drops Volume Burst Mascara.
CHEEKS: Tony Moly Cristal Blusher in Pleasure Peach.
LIPS: GAP Lip Gloss in Chocolate Brown.
Have you tried this lip gloss before, or any other makeup from the GAP? How was your experience?


11.19.2014

Wordless Wednesday #109 | A Cowabunga Birthday!

Simple celebration at home, with the family.
Hello, birthday boy!
Michaelangelo cake from Bake It Away.
Make a wish, baby! :)



11.17.2014

Spotlight | Liposome Collagen+C Serum.

There's no end to this addiction to collagen. Especially now that collagen has become part and parcel of my daily skincare routine. The latest addition to my routine is the Liposome Collagen+C Serum from NeoCell.
Liposome Collagen+C Serum.
I received this product a few months back, but I wasn't able to use it right away as I still had a few other skincare products lined up for testing. I finally had the chance to incorporate this product in my daily skincare routine some three weeks ago, after finishing my bottle of Hydra+ H.A. Serum.

Here's a bit of info about the product:
Liposome Collagen+C Serum is a skin defense serum that rejuvenates the skin with a potent topical antioxidant, guarding against sun and wind to minimize dry skin and wrinkles. It contains fat-soluble vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as phospholipids (naturally contain essential polyunsaturated fatty acids) - all in a time-release stable liposome form.
Comes in a 30mL pump bottle.
So what exactly is liposome, you might ask.
Liposomes are microscopic fluid-filled bodies, similar to biological cells. This resemblance to the different layers of the skin barrier allows them to combine well with the cell membranes, bi-layers and acid mantle, which in turn allows the active (skincare) ingredients to penetrate effectively. 
Product description at the back.
The liposome technology is quite evident in this product as the serum sinks into the skin right away without the sticky feel. I use this before going to bed at night, and each morning I'd wake up with silky, smooth skin. In the three weeks that I've used this product, I noticed my skin looks firmer, and the fine lines under my eyes are not as visible as they were.
Plastic pump. Turn to the left to open, right to close. 
The serum is unscented, and comes in a pump bottle. (The bottle is my only gripe about this product, as it is made of glass.) The product has just the right consistency - not too thick, not too runny, non-sticky, and feels light on the skin. One pump is enough to cover the face and neck, so just a little goes a long way.
One pump of the serum.
The Liposome Collagen+Serum sells for $15.47 (around Php 695) on iHerb, which I say is a reasonable price for a product that works. I'm considering repurchasing this product, though I wish their bottles weren't made of glass. It's too risky to have glass containers in my vanity table, especially when I have a curious six-year-old boy at home. And I'm sure most moms know exactly what I mean. :)

Have you tried this product before? What skincare products are you currently using? :)