Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Masterpiece (Or, How to Paint Stripes on a Wall)

I finally painted stripes on one wall of our second floor! I just wanted an accent wall up there because the area seemed too plain.

Originally, I wanted black and white stripes to match the pillows we have on the first floor. But it seemed a little too formal for the second floor, where the bedrooms are. Former Real Living stylist Coni suggested Tiffany blue. At first I was hesitant, but I figured a very light blue would complement the cappuccino-bordering-on-beige-colored bedrooms. My husband, who normally lets me have my way, mentioned that he didn't like the idea of a multi-colored house. So I settled for Ivory, very similar to our existing bedroom color.

To paint your own stripes, you'll need:

  • Masking tape (not shown), for making stripes
  • A small can of paint (I used Boysen's enamel paint in Ivory)
  • A roller and paint tray
  • A paint brush for little corners and edges
  • Something to mix the paint with (e.g., that stick up there)
  • Old newspapers--but we didn't have newspapers so I used a beach mat to protect the floor
  • A ladder (not shown)
The step-by-step for a prepped wall (meaning no paint removal, sanding, and putty-ing needed):

1. Clean wall! You don't want dust and random cobwebs getting stuck under the paint.
2. Protect the floor and surrounding furniture. Cover with newspapers, drop cloths, or (in my case) a beach mat. Cover outlets and light switches with masking tape.
3. Make stripes by taping even sections with masking tape. I used two-inch wide masking tape.

4. Mix paint then pour into paint tray.
5. Dip roller into tray and start painting, using up-and-down strokes.
6. Using paint brush, paint corners and edges not covered by roller.
7. Let dry. Slowly peel off masking tape.
8. Retouch areas as needed.


With our dreamy MDF chandelier (must buy energy-saving bulb!)

Sounds simple enough, and it would have been had I not knocked over a can of paint (more on that in a future post)!

It's far from perfect--the original white paint peeled off some parts and I had to retouch, some edges aren't fully Ivory, the last stripe on the right is a tad darker (I had to use a brush since it was too small for a roller)--but I'm still quite proud of my handiwork!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our MDF Chandelier Is Finally Up!

After sitting under our stairs for months, our super cute MDF chandelier has finally been mounted!

It's one of three home projects we took care of this weekend. We also had our heater fixed, plus I painted stripes on one wall! Yup, I painted 'em myself--pictures soon! And a painting mishap story to go with it. Suffice it to say that I'm glad I did it, but now truly understand why professionals are paid to do this!

A few weeks back, Hamil also successfully put a new doorknob in one bathroom door. So that's four things off our Home Sweet Home bucket list! Got another long weekend coming up, and am hoping to cross out a few more things. Hurray for productivity!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Location, Same Good Food

A food blogger once said that Cafe Juanita looked like it could be the home of Madam Auring. I thought it was a hilarious--and very apt--description. The original Juanita was in a dark, one-storey structure, and was festooned with colorful fabric, pendant lamps, bells, figurines, beads, tassels, and other fortune-teller-tent-like stuff, all strangely, artfully coming together.

It reminded me a lot of a popular NYC resto, Serendipity III (made famous by that John Cusack movie), also similarly packed. (There was a three-hour wait one time!)

With my friend Mutya in Serendipity. This was around Christmas time, hence that twinkling tree in the back. Although, for all I know, it might be part of the quirky decor year-round!

When I found out that Juanita was moving across the street, I went into a mild panic. I worried that the awesome awesome Pinoy-food-with-a-twist would change along with its location, so I dragged Hamil to the old resto before it moved to its new home. Well, OK, there wasn't much dragging to be done as Hamil seems to like this place as well.

A couple of months later, we visited the new Juanita and were pleased to find that, even though they had moved, they still retained their kooky decor. I thought they would go for a more minimalist approach in this new, tropical Asian-inspired structure...

...but I suppose they just couldn't help themselves! While its facade is clean-lined, predominantly white with some sampaguita glass thrown in, inside, it's an explosion of Filipino, Chinese, Middle Eastern, etc. stuff in a two-storey structure, hung from the ceiling, draped from wall to wall, standing in niches.

And the food, ah, the food. It's still the stuff that we know and love! A sampling of our faves (whether at the old place or new one):

Catfish Mango Salad. A tower of catfish, fried to a crisp, served over a bed of green mango strips.

Before-and-after-mixing Paad Thai. Stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp, egg, and other good stuff.

Bagnet. I LOVE bagnet (deep-fried pork). This one's served with tomatoes and bagoong.

Pinoy Ratatoy. Their version of ratatouille--eggplants and tomatoes mixed with tuyo. Deliciously salty!

Mango Jubilee. Vanilla ice cream with ripe mango chunks. Their bestselling dessert is the Sticky Toffee Pudding, but unfortunately, I don't have a photo of it.

It's a great place to take balikbayan relatives and visiting friends (and yourselves!). But be sure to make reservations first, especially this coming holiday season!

Cafe Juanita is at #19 West Capitol Drive, Bgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For reservations, call (02) 632-0357.

Friday, October 22, 2010

YASP (Yet Another Shameless Plug)

Come one, come all to the launch of my other baby, Real Living's Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers!

Today at 5:00 PM, Robinsons Galleria Activity Center. Team editor Rach sadly won't be around, so guess who has to give the opening remarks?

I've worked on six books for Real Living (as of last count), but this one marks my first stint as book editor! Art director Carl and I were working on it just as we were starting at GH, so you can imagine how much sleep we got (or didn't get).

Read more about the book here. It's only P120! Makes for a great, el cheapo Christmas gift!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do You Have Your October Issue Yet?

If you haven't yet, do grab a copy of Good Housekeeping Philippines' October issue!

Cover photo by Sara Black

It features super multi-tasker Daphne Osena-Paez on the cover. Not only is she a TV host, but she's also a furniture designer, businesswoman, UNICEF special advocate, and beauty endorser (a contract she bagged at 39!) on top of being a wife and mom. Phew! Read about her action-packed life and why she embraces being 40!

We've also got a great food story, featuring 14 breakfast ideas!

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

It started out with our Contributing Home and Family editor Bubbles saying that breakfast is the hardest meal to think of. There really isn't much variety, is there? Well, this feature proves that there is! Chefs Gigi Angkaw, Mel Jimenez, and Pixie Sevilla-Santos created two weeks' worth of breakfast recipes, while the awesome people at the Center for Culinary Arts Manila took care of preparing all the dishes.

October is also our cleaning special, so it's got loads of time-bound tips, meaning cleanup activities you can do, no matter how much time you have. And since it's dengue season, we have an article debunking dengue myths. (Did you know that you could get dengue up to four times?!) This issue is kind of close to my heart since I lost a brother to dengue. Seriously people, you could die from this disease, so be safe!

We've packed this issue with other good stuff, like skincare solutions (e.g., Do you know the correct way of washing your face?), tips from experts on getting kids to listen to you, learning how to let go of clutter, and loads more. All for just P100! Available at supermarkets, convenience stores, bookstores, newsstands, and wherever else magazines are sold.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Football-themed Baby Shower

A friend of mine asked me to help her with decorations for her sister's football-themed baby shower. We had less than a week to prepare, and I was crazy busy (December ish deadline, planning seminar, video shoot for some conference thing, events--including the Muji opening, woohoo!), so we weren't able to do a lot. But a few snapshots...

My friend's brother-in-law provided us with an "usher": Hottie Ronaldo pointed the way to the venue! (Hmm, I think he'd work in a bridal shower too! Haha.)

The shower was held at the White Space Commissary, which serves yummy Cafe Bola food. The interiors had a high ceiling and lovely lighting (mostly natural light streaming in through the windows and doors), which gave the place a nice, airy feel.

I handcrafted a baby name banner. Originally, I thought of using several different World Cup jerseys as inspiration, but eventually decided use my go-to color scheme for boys' baby showers: blue and orange. Thus, I just made mini versions of the Oranje and Argentina jerseys!

We had baby blue and orange balloons to match. For the tables, I made mini vuvuzelas. In hindsight, I probably should have used another color, because they kind of looked like extra-slim traffic cones! My friend's niece immediately recognized what they were supposed to be though, and tried the whole time to produce some sort of sound from them. I tied blue and white ribbons around them, and placed these on top of grass tiles that my friend brought. Cafe Bola printed out football placemats for us.

There were football-themed prizes for the games (one was a football relay), courtesy of my friend's BIL.

The giveaways were a cupcakes with green frosting to mimic grass, and a little football on top.

And keeping watch over the cupcakes, Footballer Elmo! I swiped him from my nephew's room. Here he is with a vuvuzela...

Fun! I'm planning another baby shower before I (again) leave for NY. I'm really starting to consider this as a potential sideline!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anatomy of a Bonfire

What exactly happens when a collegiate team celebrates a basketball championship? I can't speak for other schools, but at the Ateneo (Arreneow), we have a bonfire. And this year, we had a big reason to celebrate: three-peat, baby!

The event usually starts off with a mass, then the crowds spill out onto the school grounds. This year and last, the bonfire was wisely held at the Grade School grounds. (I remember a particularly muddy year at Bel field. Ick. But Parokya totally rocked!) There, all the blue bloods--from grade schoolers to alumni grandparents--wait patiently for their beloved teams to come onstage; while doing so, they walk around looking for friends, or guzzle on beer--one of the rare times alcohol is actually allowed on campus. Food stalls and booths selling souvenir shirts are erected all around and do pretty good business. Hamil and I normally hang out at the ASSOC tent, where alumni of his old org gather. (There was lechon these past two bonfires!) We see people we haven't seen in ages; unfortunately, my close friends aren't a basketball-loving bunch, so we mostly see Hamil's friends. This year though, I bumped into pro baller and member of the '02 championship squad Rich Alvarez, who told me that to him, I "will always be Alvarez." (He used to joke that I shouldn't change my last name when I got married!)

The juniors' team is usually introduced first, and their high school groupies let out little shrieks. And then, the much-anticipated seniors' team and their coach (Norman Black) go up onstage. Key players get interviewed, and hosts normally have a bit of fun with them. This year, American Kirk Long was asked to speak in Filipino. The team was also asked to dance with one of our favorite Blue Babble Battalion boys--the one who dances in the bleachers when most of the crowd has exited Araneta!

After that, the pile of wood is set ablaze!

We then sing the alma mater. Then homegrown bands take to the stage to play the rest of the night. My favorite is Parokya ni Edgar, mostly because they have such hilarious spiels in between songs.

Two years ago, they kept talking about how pogi Chris Tiu was. This year, they talked about their La Sallian bandmate...

Lead singer Chito: "Itong gitarista namin, La Salista. Pero pumunta siya dito para mag-celebrate kasama natin."
Crowd cheers
Chito, to guitarist: "O, bumaba ka diyan, magugulpi ka!" (Try going down there, you'll get beat up!)

While the bands play on, a long line snakes its way to tables, where the team is available for autographs and photos. (The most epic line I've seen in the years I've been going to bonfires is the one after the 2002 championship. Come to think of it, that team was super hyped, guesting on everything from talk shows to sitcoms!)

And then, inebriated with both alcohol and school spirit, people head home, or to a nearby bar. Here's hoping we'll have an even bigger reason to celebrate next year!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apollo 10.10.10

This pretty much sums up what happened over the weekend...

My team decided to join Apollo 10, a two-day tournament sponsored by the University of the Philippines Diliman Ultimate Organization (UP DUO). The format? Ten players in the lineup, with only seven playing at a time--NO SUBS, aka savage! Essentially, it's 45 minutes of hell under the sun.

Normally, you're allowed to sub in between points, and our team is used to subbing every two points so that we always have fresh legs on the field. So you can imagine how much fun I had that first game. By the 30th minute, I was on my knees, crawling and screaming for the love of all things good for water.

But I would do it again in a heartbeat!

My Apollo 10 top 10:
  1. We divided into three teams--two in the open division, and one in the newbies division (meaning, eight out of the ten players haven't played in any PUA tournament). Our Warriors B team (aka Barracks), with a record of 2-1 on Day 1, moved up to Pool A!
  2. Our newbies team pretty much massacred all the teams they met and made it all the way to the finals!
  3. My team (Warriors A, aka Marines), had a 1-2 record on Day 1--this, after playing against the No-Mercy Shark team (made up of some of the best male college players in the country) and Spuck U (another team with young lungs, young legs, and girls that moved like boys. Fast ones!).
  4. Went into Day 2 thinking we had a chance at making it to the Pool B finals...that is until our game started and there were only four of us (I was the only girl) playing against seven!
  5. ...BUT we scored the first point despite being down three players! (Guess who scored? Tee-hee.) Our players started to trickle in as the game progressed. By half time, we were complete. And we won! Personal highlight: I scored around three points.:) And I said that whatever else happened that day, I was happy enough that we won with four people on the line at the start of the game. To quote Fel, "Nakapag-1 versus 100 na rin tayo!"
  6. We won the semis too! Personal highlight: I scored a few more points. Yay!
  7. We fully expected to meet our friend Spy's team in the finals. But, surprise surprise, they lost to high school team Xavier! So much for our well-laid plans. Spy's quotable quote, after sitting out of the semis to supposedly rest for the finals: "Mas mabuti pa palang pagod sa finals kesa hindi umabot!"
  8. Before our big finals game, we watched our newbies' finals game. They lost, but they put in a valiant effort--they were playing four girls and three guys versus the other team's standard four guy-three girl ratio. And I gotta say we had the louder cheering squad.:)
  9. We lost in the finals versus the kiddies. Sigh. We just couldn't figure out how to shut down their O, and it was too late when we figured out how to work our own O. I did score five out of our six or seven points. It was kind of nice and also rather embarrassing when the Xavier sidelines applauded me and gave me verbal pats on the back as I exited the field.
  10. Several of the Warriors got awards! Fel was our pool's MVP, JM and Edith (who played splendidly!) were in the Pool A Mythical 7, our turbo-charged Lem was Newbies MVP, newcomer Cams was part of the Newbies Mythical 7, and Czar was best defensive player across all pools! Unbelievable! I'm so proud of the way our teams performed!
All in all, a pretty great tournament! Even my aching joints agree.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Gimmick Spot: Casa Nami

Before I discovered dancing and, consequently, shifted to hiphop music, I was a bit of a rocker. This was back in late grade school and early high school, when I was heavily into bands like Nirvana (I cried when Kurt Cobain died), Suede, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Guns N' Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, U2 (my all-time fave), and to some extent, Metallica. (I drew the line at Pantera.) I was heavily influenced by my kuyas, who had bands of their own, and who were regulars at Club Dredd. So, while I tend to move my boo-tey to a good hiphop beat, I also find myself bobbing my head when I hear the rock songs that were the anthem of my early teen years.

Which is why Casa Nami is the kind of place I don't mind chillin' at for hours on end. (The boys over at the hilarious Amats Project--one of my current favorite blogs--seem to like it too.) This relatively new pub plays purely rock music, whether via playlist or live band, and has a decidedly older clientele than those found in the trendiest gimmick spots. Here, I can just sit back without bumping elbows with customers who look like they're below the legal drinking age, or enduring the sight of college girls grinding against each other to the latest Top 40 Hits to get attention for fun. Some of the live bands, while playing unfamiliar songs, can tap into my dormant inner rocker and capture my attention for a set.

The interiors are made up of light wood and concrete, and bar stools are the order of the day. I love that there's barely any smoke, since the smokers are contained in one area. I love that I can wear flipflops, and can walk in without people giving me the once over (there's bound to be someone way more dressed down--and who couldn't care less). It's a surf-themed bar, with surfboards mounted onto walls, and surfing competitions showing on the flat-screen TVs--seeing the world's best surfers in action kind of encouraged me to give it another shot. We'll see.

Hamil loves their ice-cold beer, served in frozen mugs. Lightweight drinker me liked their Blue Hawaii (or Hawaiian? One of those!): a large glass of pineapple juice, blue Curacao, coconut rum, and an umbrella for good measure. And even after having a big dinner at neighboring Portuguese resto O'sonho, we couldn't help munching on the Kelaguen, their version of kilawin, made of chicken and served with chips. Yum!

I thought I was done going out, staying up late--my eyes and my lungs just can't take the smoke anymore, and the dressing up, and the standing around for hours in heels. But with a place like Casa Nami, I think I still have it in me to rock on!

Casa Nami is on Jupiter Street, Makati City (near Starbucks and Whistle Stop).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Won! I Won! I Won!

And the streak continues!

Today, at a Rustan's Supermarket event, I won this nifty little gadget...

A 16GB touch-screen iPod Nano! How cool is that?

And it's pink! I was gunning for the iTouch (or that 45-inch LCD TV) but, hey, I certainly ain't complaining! Thanks, Rustan's!

I was thinking of selling it, partly because I still have a perfectly functioning Nano, which Hamil gave me one Christmas. I didn't want it (and my husband) to feel bad! But Hamil himself encouraged me to keep it, saying it'll last me for years, and that I'm not in dire need of extra cash anyway. So I'm keeping it! Yay! I particularly like that it has a built-in clip--perfect for when I run!

I also got a lot of other stuff today: a gift basket from Rustan's, a basket of Wonka candy bars (I gave away most of them), a bag full of 3M stuff, and athletic gear (I gave away the shirts and the pants, and kept the hoodie). Not a bad day at all.:)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Now I Know Why People Cry on "Biggest Loser"

I started this workout I found about from Macy...

...and now I understand why people bawl through their workouts on reality show, The Biggest Loser! In this workout, trainer Jillian Michaels really pushes you to work through the pain. I was only thankful that she wasn't here in person to yell at me as I did my poor excuse for pushups. I couldn't imagine what the contestants on TV had to go through as they suffered through three hours of Jillian's special brand of torture.

I read stuff about the workout before I got started on it, and there were things like, "It will hurt to live." Thankfully, I'm relatively fit so I didn't think I would drop dead in the middle of all those jumping jacks, but I still did find it challenging. It's scary thinking about what she has in store when I reach Level 3.

A bit of info on the 30 Day Shred, in case you're interested in trying it: It's supposed to get you shredded (duh) in 30 days (DUH), and it does so with a 20-minute workout. Jillian leads you through circuits made up of two minutes of strength (free weights needed...although I had to do without), two minutes of cardio, and one minute of core. The most difficult parts for me were the pushups, as I do not have upper body strength--I tend to avoid anything that'll make my naturally bulky biceps any bigger, so I'm a bloomin' weakling. The lunges were also a little tough on my injured ankle; the jump rope, on my injured knee. I did work up a sweat, but over all, it was manageable.

I like that it's just 20 minutes because, given my crazy schedule, I don't have time for hour-long runs. Jillian says things like pain tells you that it's working, that change requires pain. I try to do everything right, no shortcuts. Cheating won't give me the results I want. I've really gotta whip myself into shape to get my body bikini-ready for our upcoming trip! If only Jillian were around to keep an eye on what I eat!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Great Escape

Hamil and I got to test-drive a sweet ride one weekend, one of the perks of my job. Yay!

Shirt from Amanda's Place, shorts from Bayo, shades from Forever 21

Can you guess what he's driving? Hint: Check the title.;)

We headed south, to T House in Tagaytay, where we had a free overnight stay waiting for us. (Another job perk! Yay!)

The driveway leading to the facilities

Clean-lined, Zen-inspired (this photo taken during our first visit nearly three years ago)

The daybed where I wanted to while away the morning reading

Not to sound ungrateful, but it's kind of ironic how the "T" in T House is supposed to stand for tranquility. During our stay, it could very well have stood for tumult! There was an event--a very loud one--at their in-house pavilion, and neither the rooms nor the spa were spared from the noise. The receptionist did warn us right off the bat that there was a party going on, so it's not like we were caught off-guard. But thank goodness we didn't have to pay for our stay!

We were given a fairly spacious Earth room, which sported the modern Asian look of the rest of the boutique hotel, with some subtle Japanese touches like a low bed.

Since the restaurant staff seemed busy at the event, we decided to have dinner in our room. I ordered the saffron cream fish fillet, while Hamil had the salmon wrapped in nori, served atop some wasabi mashed potatoes. If I remember right, we ordered this on our first visit too.

He then treated me to a nice massage at T Spa. Ahhhh.

The massage bed covered in batik

The outdoor treatment area (photo taken the next morning)

Would have been much more pleasant if we couldn't hear the muzak coming from the pavilion though! Anyhoo, after we had the knots rubbed and pummeled out of us, we headed back to our room to turn in. A little treat was waiting for us...

Hot tea and a couple of cookies! Sweet. I nibbled around the raisins though. (Tishie Tishie fact: I generally don't like raisins, and I especially don't like raisins in meat dishes! I can eat chocolate-covered ones though.)

The next morning, we headed to the restaurant, which finally had someone on hand. For my complimentary brekkie, I chose the tapa.

The rice was shaped like a slice of cake. Novel.

It was a nice, quick getaway, made especially enjoyable by the fact that we only had to pay for dinner and our massages! Sadly, we had to return the vehicle when we got back to Manila. It was fun while it lasted.