Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sweet Christmas

Just a quick post to greet everyone a very merry Christmas!

Yesterday, I did something I hadn't done in years: I baked cupcakes!



I love baking but our hand-me-down oven is so wonky that I hardly attempt it. I sooo wanted to bake a layered cake, but given the oven situation, I decided these were a safer bet. The flavor: My favorite red velvet with cream cheese frosting, with a recipe from here (I cut the ingredients for frosting by half though). The frosting looks a little sad because I didn't have a proper pastry bag. But I'm happy it tasted the way I wanted it to and the cakes were a vibrant red (as opposed to an ordinary chocolate brown)--perfect for Christmas. Plus, the house smelled like cupcakes!

Hope everyone had/is having a Christmas that's just as warm and sweet and comforting and delicious!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Step Away from the iPad

What ever happened to good conversations over dinner? When eating out meant catching up with each other, reminiscing about the past, making new memories? Now, I see tables of people hunched over their gadgets, playing games, tweeting, BBM-ing away, paying no mind to the other people who are doing...the exact same thing.

I am guilty of checking my phone every now and then over dinner, but I think that paying more attention to your gadget than to the people you're with is just plain rude. It tells them that you'd rather be somewhere else. It tells them that games are more important than their company. It tells them that you are utterly lacking in the ability to carry a conversation.

It tells me that we need to start relearning how to communicate, the good old-fashioned way.

This Christmas, as we get together with our families and friends, may we remember to let go of our gadgets and focus on the people, right then and there.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Time of My Life

We won!



Even with minimum effort on the part of most of the participants (not so much on mine--more on that later), we won! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In the past, it was a Summit tradition to have a contest among its employees during the Christmas party--best presentation wins. My first one was in 2005, and we placed second, despite having practiced for probably a grand total of three times. The second was the year after that, where I and the rest of the Charmed Ones (Runner's World editor Marie and former Martha Stewart Weddings EIC Tata) conceptualized the 80s-themed performance. We placed first. We were dead set on defending our crown, but alas, for four years, there was literally no contest.

This year, the tradition was revived. But instead of being divided into departments (editorial, production, etc.), we were grouped together randomly. GH was put together with the other women's/kids'/parenting titles, Hand Interactive (our mobile arm), and internal audit.

We barely had two weeks to prepare, and I was the default "leader" (after HR emailed me. Through my personal address. While I was on vacation. I kid you not). I figured the easiest thing to do would be a flash mob. Inspired by the Oprah show, I chose the Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)," asked my husband to cut it (because who has the time to learn a five-minute routine?), watched some wedding flash mob videos on YouTube, and set about recruiting people.

It wasn't easy. The most common answer I got was, "I can't dance." We resorted to all sorts of tactics--peer pressure, thinly veiled threats, and even a direct order from the Big Boss. I made four promises to everyone I spoke to:
  1. The choreo was going to be verrrry easy, a modified LA Walk (a number of them asked me to demonstrate, and I had to make up steps on the spot).
  2. They only had to practice once.
  3. They could learn it in 15 minutes.
  4. I would make myself available whenever they wanted to learn the steps.
I was gunning for at least 30 people, but in the end, got about 40 (although about five of them weren't able to perform for various reasons), and probably taught the steps around seven times to as many different groups of people. (P.S. I also had to mix the music. Haha.)

I am incredibly grateful to those who helped out--OK!'s Kabbie, who came up with a Powerpoint presentation detailing costume options for those in the main group of performers; Cosmo's Camyl, who was supposed to be a co-leader but couldn't perform, so she took care of logistics instead; OK!'s Red and Cosmo's Paula, who took care of the party poppers; Marie, who absorbed some of my stress; all the others who taught the steps to their friends!

The result is this:


I was obviously pumped up. Har. Cosmo's Irish does an awesome imitation of me! What can I say--the cheerleader in me came alive!

Other groups played instruments and all that (although we were the only group out of five that didn't use the whole Victoria's Secret-"Moves Like Jagger" concept!), but I guess we had the most energy (plus Myrza Sison!). Our performance wasn't perfect, but we had fun, and I think it showed.

The win gave me something more than just a cash prize and bragging rights. At the end of the night, as I rested at home and worried about my disappearing voice, I thought about what this experience taught me. (I rarely do big confessions here, but here goes...)

See, the past few weeks haven't been easy for me. They've been full of self-doubt and a lot of fear. I was questioning many of my decisions, and even my abilities. I lost the vigor I once had, and kept thinking if I was good enough at what I do. I'll spare you the ugly details, but essentially, I was living under this cloud of insecurity, and I felt like I was too drained to face it head on.

It might seem kind of shallow, but this performance, this win, made me realize that I am still capable of doing great things. If I take charge, don't let anybody compromise my vision, put in the hard work, and have a wonderful team behind me, I can produce something spectacular.

This experience gave me back my confidence and my drive. What a priceless Christmas gift! Whenever I see those clouds rushing in, I'll go back to this moment. And maybe even do that modified LA Walk, just to remind me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wedding Wear

'Tis the season to get married! Attended two weddings yesterday in what is probably my favorite wedding outfit to date (not counting my wedding gown, of course!).


Snakeskin top and pleated black skirt with slit and gold waistband from The Ramp at Crossings, nude platform pumps by Parisian, Aranaz clutch, earrings by WWW, bangles from Forever 21

I was tired of wearing the usual prom-like gowns, so I opted for edgy separates. I looove the slit. This skirt would be more flattering on someone three inches taller though! Har. Didn't think my husband would like it, but he actually said, "Ooh! Snakeskin!" Got another wedding this month in Baguio. Thinking about a formal outfit to wear in cooler climes.

Marry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Immaculate and Other Misconceptions

In honor of this day, I decided to do a post on popular misconceptions (er, and grammatical errors that really bug me). Feel free to comment with other stuff that you want the world to know!

The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the time Jesus was conceived.
When people make a joke about single friends being pregnant, and single friends reply with, "Ano yon? Immaculate Conception?" that isn't accurate. The Immaculate Conception was when Mary was conceived without sin (December 8, today--nine months before Mary's birthday, September 8). Jesus was conceived during the Annunciation (March 25--nine months before Christmas). Although it can be argued that Jesus, too, was conceived without sin...

Since we're on the topic of Catholicism, if you do the Math, Lent isn't really 40 days long. (It's longer.) I just counted it three years ago. There are different schools of thought--I read somewhere that Holy Week isn't included, but that's strange because I always thought it was the holiest part of Lent. Others say Sundays aren't included. I still don't know the real explanation, but the fact remains: between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, there are more than 40 days!

The Quarter-Life Crisis doesn't hit when you turn 25. It's a term that covers the period from late teens to early 30s (depending on where you are emotionally and psychologically I guess), not just your 25th year. I think the confusion comes from the fact the "25" is a quarter of a hundred. (Which still doesn't really make sense because how many people actually live up to a hundred?)

Frisbee is not the name of the sport. It's a brand of flying disc. The sport is called Ultimate, but people call it Frisbee, in the same way that Pinoys call toothpaste Colgate and photocopying Xerox. Funny thing is, we hardly use Frisbee-brand discs here (Discraft is preferred).

"Training" cannot be pluralized. You can say "training seminars" or "training sessions" or whatever, but I cringe whenever I read/hear "trainings." Don't get me started on furniture, equipment, and jewelry.

"Traffic" is a noun, not an adjective. So it isn't grammatically correct to say, "It's so traffic!!!" Better to say, "Traffic is heavy" or "Pay-day Friday traffic is bat-sh*t crazy."

Keep this in mind: "result in." It's either that or "lead to" but never "result to."

OK, glad I got all that off my chest! Although there is that bit about dangling modifiers that really bugs me...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Everthing Kate Middleton!

My other baby is finally out!



A couple of months ago, I was asked to work on a special for OK! Magazine, about the Duchess of Cambridge. Given the super limited time frame, I had to recruit a small team of highly capable people to work on it with me. Enter Camyl from Cosmo (also of Techy Romantics fame), Mimi of Candy, and Cleone of Martha Stewart Weddings. I cannot tell you how much of a godsend these ladies were--they made the work so incredibly efficient, and even enjoyable! (A special thank you to the publishers as well!)

We went through hundreds and hundreds of photos, read a lot of books and news stories, and immersed ourselves in all things Kate. (It would've been nice if we had been sent to the UK for more research, but oh well.) This special is all about Kate's (er, Catherine's) growing-up years, her love affair with William, that spectacular wedding, her personal style, and her current life as the Duchess of Cambridge.

Scandal sells, for sure (read: local showbiz news the past couple of weeks), so it's quite refreshing that people are so interested in someone who's relatively scandal-free. My editor's note:

What is it about Catherine Elizabeth Middleton that we find so fascinating? For the Brits, her future subjects, it may be the hope that she is the antidote to a scandal-wracked monarchy. After decades of unhappy marriages, affairs, and divorces serving as tabloid fodder, the royal family has a new member who, by many accounts, is a well-behaved girl with a perfectly boring past. Possibly the most shocking thing about Kate is that she would supposedly moon boys from her dorm window during her time at Marlborough College.

But what is it about her that appeals to the rest of the world? I think it’s that people find her absolutely relatable. Once a commoner like the rest of us, Kate comes from a working-class family, reportedly experienced bullying at all-girl school Downe House, got down and dirty playing a variety of sports, and till this day does her own grocery shopping (and her own makeup!). She was a regular girl who got her fairy tale in the grandest of fashions. And while women everywhere may begrudge any other would-be princess for bagging one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, there is simply something so likable about Kate that makes other women root for her (or even want to be her, if the skyrocketing sales of outfits she’s worn are any indication) instead.


Kate is a charming mix of paradoxes: sophisticated but not the least bit intimidating, fashionable but with sartorial choices that are attainable, royalty but with a lineage that can be traced back to coal miners. And while she may have been in danger of falling under the shadow of her well-loved mother-in-law, Kate is quietly proving that she is, in fact, her own person—as the Duchess of Cambridge, she is radiant, composed, confident, and still so strangely, wonderfully approachable.
In this special, we reveal how Kate went from a regular British girl to Waity Katie to Catherine, the future Queen of England—and show just what it was that captured Prince William’s heart, and the world’s.

~*~*~*~

Do grab a copy from the nearest bookstore or newsstand, for P195. It'll make a great Christmas gift for your Kate-fanatic friend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Christmas Wish List

It's December, y'all! Can you believe it? I haven't even done my Christmas shopping yet! Ack!

Ze huzband has been asking me about what I want, so it got me thinking about my own Christmas wish list. Presenting, the top 10 things on my list (although I may have missed a few things), in no particular order...

1. A new wardrobe. I have a lot of clothes already, but I really want to have a well-rounded wardrobe that stays true to my style (which I've determined is "classic with an edge"--except when I'm on the field!).



All from Zara. What can I say? I love neutrals.


2. Laptop. Because my old netbook isn't working like it's supposed to. And I also want to replace our clunky home desktop PC with a sleek notebook.


Isn't it purty? From here.

3. Hand vacuum. Yes, yes, this is the unsexiest thing I have on my list. But I'm convinced that I would vacuum more if only I didn't have to assemble-disassemble-store every single time I have to vacuum the couch.



From here.

4. Sheets. I really want to add to our sheet wardrobe! There's nothing like lying in a bed with fresh, crisp sheets.


And if you want to throw in a fluffy white comforter, that would be awesome. From here.

5. A good chef's knife. I think it takes longer for me to cook because I don't have a proper knife. I had a chef's knife a couple of years ago, but it has since gotten dull, and I wouldn't know how to begin sharpening it. P.S. Did you know that more kitchen accidents are caused by dull knives than sharp ones?


Hamil and I saw this on the Home TV Shopping Network and were so amazed! Haha

6. Design*Sponge at Home. I've been wanting this book for months.


From here.

7. And while we're at it, a book shopping spree. Because even though my brother said he would give me his Kindle, I still one day want to have this...


From here.

8. My signature scent. I love love love L'Occitane Recolte Bleu. It was given to me by my good friend Marie a few years ago, and it's been my scent ever since. It smells like lavender--so fresh, clean, relaxing. But I just recently ran out of it.:(



From here.

9. Butterbeer cupcakes. My "sister" Priti found a recipe for Butterbeer cupcakes. We've been meaning to whip up a batch but a few ingredients aren't available locally. Sigh.


Photo from the same site.

10. To travel. I really really really miss my family in New York. It's been a year.:( And I really really really want to go back to Europe, with Hamil this time.


I did throw a coin into the Fountain of Trevi on my last visit, so I have high hopes that I'll be going back!

I'm not asking for too much, am I?:) When people ask me what I want, I normally say "nothing," because really, I do have everything to give me a comfortable life. These big-ticket items are just fanciful bonuses. As it is--with everything (and everyone) I have in my life--I have more than enough to be thankful for.

What's on your list?

Friday, November 25, 2011

We've Got Spirits

It's Manila Spirits weekend, so if you're interested in seeing some super competitive disc action, head on over to Alabang Country Club to watch local and foreign teams at play. Today, the first day, the Pilipinas Bebots faced defending champs Kung Pao Chicks in the Women's Division finals, but the Kung Pao Chicks were able to hold on to their crown. The Boracay Dragons, however, beat CUUP (China United Ultimate Party, made up mostly of white guys from Beijing, Hong Kong, etc.) by one point, 17-16, to become this year's Open Division champs. Hurray!

I'll be away for a few days, so I'll be missing all the games for the second year in a row. My travel plans aren't quite as grand as people have guessed, but I still have high hopes for the trip. At the very least, I'm getting the break I've long been hankering for.

Happy weekend, everyone.:)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Oprah Was Right

Fourth-grade teachers are pretty special. Oprah had Mrs. Dunkin/Duncan (it's spelled differently on two different episodes), I had Ms. Blas.

Ms. Blas was our Reading teacher 20 (!) years ago. Grade 4 wasn't one of my best years--this was when family life was going through a rough patch, and I think it reflected on my academics. But having Ms. Blas was one of the brighter spots that year--she was the nicest teacher I had, and it didn't hurt that she taught one of my absolute favorite subjects.

The last I heard from her was April 1991, report card day. That was the day she gave me a copy of The Secret Garden, which ended up becoming one of my favorite books--I read it every summer for years. Every time I read it, I would think of her.

Well, I had my own Oprah-surprise moment when I got this message a couple of months ago through Facebook:

"Good to see former students like you doing so well in your chosen fields. Was happy to see you as EIC of GH. Great job!"

She was no longer Ms. Blas, having gotten married soon after she stopped teaching at my school, and now has four kids (including a college student and a fourth grader--boggles the mind thinking I was that age when I had her as my teacher!). We made arrangements to meet up, and one of my BFFs (who was my best friend in fourth grade!) and I had dinner with her.


With BFF and the teacher formerly known as Ms. Blas. We also got to meet her husband. They're so cute together!

Oh, and that book she gave me 20 years ago? I still have it.



It's seen better days, but I still have it!


3 April 19-frickin'-91!

Twenty years. The story of our reunion is a Facebook ad waiting to happen.

Who was your favorite fourth-grade teacher? Are you in touch?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

There's a Bag Named After Me!

My good friend (and one of the secondary sponsors at my wedding) Mona asked if she could name one of the bags in her latest collection after me. How could I possibly say no? Presenting...Two Oranges' Tisha cosmetic bag!


P450, free shipping within Metro Manila

So cute. Pink snakeskin. And it's pretty roomy too!



Observe...




Ta-dah!

Other bags in the collection are named after our other former co-workers at SGV. Which one's your favorite?



I think you can guess which one I love the most.;)

To check out all the other Two Oranges bags (and order for Christmas!) visit their website.

All photos courtesy of Two Oranges

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Jabbawockee Surprise (You Have to See This!)

Caught the finale of America's Best Dance Crew Season 6, and the winners from all the previous seasons performed. Possibly the most awaited performance of the night was that of season one winners, Jabbawockeez. Seriously, nobody can compare.

I loved, loved, LOVED this number because of the little surprise at the end. It's so cute that the mask and gloves were too big for the Li'l Babywockee. But that's not the big surprise--watch until after the performance. I went nuts when they took off the mask! (Li'l Mama and I probably had the exact same expression on our faces!)



...

...

(because I don't want to spoil it for you)

....

....

(watch the video before you keep reading)

...

...

AAAAHHH!!! It's a girl!!! Isn't she such a cutie? Her name is Ariah, she's six, and she first tried to copy the Jabbawockeez at the ripe old age of four! She is the first official female member of the group. Isolation and popping have never been my strong points, but now I am inspired--I might just muster enough courage to attend the iso workshop next week!

Happy weekend, everyone!:)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gift Ideas for P49 and Up

Yup, you read it right--49 bucks!

Christmas started in the Philippines in September, but for me it started around August when I had to put together our gift guide for the November issue of Good Housekeeping.


This particular cover looks very US GH.

In previous years, the gift guide would appear in the December issue, but we figured that GH readers are girl scouts--they like to be prepared, so November's the best time to come out with a list. Last year, three of us put it together and, let me tell you, it wasn't easy. This year, I did it myself (with the pullout powers of our trusty EA), and I quite enjoyed it. There's a mix of super cheap finds, reasonably priced items, and blowout gifts for the ones you truly love! I especially liked putting together the food page (mostly because we got to eat everything after the shoot)...


The photo that didn't make it. By Ocs Alvarez. I originally intended to do setups for all categories, but dropouts seemed like the best way to go in the end. The space at the top portion and on the side was supposed to be for text.

The goodies pictured above are (from top): a cheesecake from new store Tous Les Jours (a Korean bakeshop officially opening on Friday), cookies from Luxe by Goldilocks, apple crumble pie from Secret Passion with a scoop of Fog City Creamery whild cherry vanilla ice cream (I love their salted caramel), Devil's Food Cake (and super cute Little Devils) from Chocolate Kiss, Pinoy chocolate from Theo & Philo, native tea from Kultura Filipino, and a red velvet cake by Bob's Red Velvet. Drooool.

Aside from the gift guide, we've got lots of other great features this month, making it by far one of my most favorite issues since I came on board:
  • a cover story on Daphne Osena-Paez, whose list of jobs has me feeling out of breath. Ready? *deep breath* TV host, producer, furniture designer, jewelry designer, linen designer, blogger, UNICEF ambassador, wife, and mom of three! Phew!
  • feeling sluggish? Bloated? Always cold? Our health feature tells you just what might be the cause.
  • how to make better decisions. This article speaks to me because, well, I have a hard enough time deciding where to eat and what to order! Lots of women are indecisive. This helps you (and me) address that!
  • a quiz to help you find your fragrance personality and the best scent for you.
  • great kitchen tips from the Junior MasterChef judges, including their smart suggestions for dinner in a hurry.
  • "Never Be Late Again"--tried and tested ways to get kids out of bed and out the door, on the dot! The tips can help you get to work on time too!
  • recipes with a secret ingredient that makes every dish tastier!
  • decorating rules for every room of the house (do you know how much space there should be between your sofa and coffee table?).
And loooots more. It's just a hundred bucks, so do grab a copy from the nearest bookstore, supermarket, newsstand, or wherever else magazines are sold.:)

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Won! I Won! (Version 2011)

Last year was a winning year (and not in a Charlie Sheen kind of way). I would go to events and just envision myself going home with something, and quite a few times, I was able to The Secret the stuff. (Yep, I used it as a verb.) This year, not so much. I blame it mostly on my general lack of focus. Sigh.

But today, I got such awesome news--I won the Cocomo Best Getaway Ever promo! If you'll recall, earlier this year, I hosted a giveaway of Cocomo swimsuits. I so wanted to join my own giveaway because I am a fan of the brand. I was thrilled to find out that they had a promo lasting 13 weeks, and each week, they would be giving away a swimsuit, a coverup, and accessories. I waited for a set that truly appealed to me. And last week, I saw this posted on their wall:



In previous weeks, they gave away a hat instead of a necklace, but I was totally digging the bikini and coverup (rarr!), so I decided that this was the week I was going to join. All I had to do was mail them a photo of my best getaway ever with a short explanation. I was seriously considering sending a photo of me in a Cocomo swimsuit for sipsip purposes, but decided to bring out the big guns and sent this instead...


Background story here

And I won! I won!:) Just in time for a planned getaway this month! *happy dance* If you'd like a shot at winning some Cocomo goodies too, do visit their Facebook promo page. Promo runs til the end of the year. Good luck!:)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Are You Afraid Of?

I'm scared of cockroaches (especially the flying kind) and deep water and tunnels and small, cramped spaces. But it was only on Halloween that I realized just how claustrophobic I actually am.

This Halloween story doesn't take place in a big old haunted house. Instead, it takes place in a luxurious spa villa. On the 31st of October, I booked what was supposed to be an incredibly relaxing two-and-a-half-hour spa treatment, which consisted of a scrub, wrap, massage, and my first-ever facial treatment. For years, people have complimented me on my skin, and I was scared that a facial would change it somehow. But I got a gift certificate and some free time and, well, the sun hasn't been good to me and I ain't getting any younger, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

So anyway, it started off with a scrub. Then my body was wrapped in plastic, and I was a human lumpia. This has always been my least favorite part of any extensive spa treatment because it restricts my movements. Thankfully, Spa Lady 1 gave me a head massage while the wrap worked its magic, so that calmed me down some.

But then we moved on to the facial. Right before we started, Spa Lady 2 warned me, "Ma'am, matatakpan ng mask ang eyes at mouth." ("Ma'am, the mask will cover your eyes and mouth.") I said OK, not fully understanding what I was saying OK to. After she cleaned my skin thoroughly and removed all the blackheads and whiteheads, she began applying the mask--it was thick and heavy and cold, like cookie dough straight from the fridge. (Mmmm cookie dough. But I digress.)

As she covered my eyes with the stuff, I began to feel uncomfortable. (I never enjoyed being forced to keep my eyes shut, whether it was in surgery or during an eyelash extension application.) And then she covered my mouth. As she stepped away from me, I felt a panic I had never known before. I could feel my blood pressure go up, and I absolutely dreaded the thought of being left there by myself, with no sight and sound, even for just a minute. I bolted upright and frantically signaled to Spa Lady 2 to come back (I couldn't talk). I pointed to my mouth, and she started removing the layer that literally sealed my lips. "Pwede wala na sa mouth?" ("Can we not cover my mouth?") I sputtered. She consented. I asked how long it would take. Ten to 15 minutes, she replied. I begged her to just leave it on for 10; she promised to remove it as soon as it dried. Then I asked her to stay in the villa with me the entire time. Again, she consented. I think I would have gone nuts if I was left there by myself. I left her a nice tip.

The whole incident surprised me. I chalked it up to the fact that I've been heavily into A Song of Fire and Ice the last few months, and all forms of torture just ran through my head. The following scenarios have always terrified me:
  • being buried alive
  • being walled up and left to die (and years later, my bones would be found, broken fingers and all from trying to claw my way out of the space)
  • being stuck in a tunnel forever (there's this long tunnel that goes from NYC to Long Island that I absolutely HATE, especially when the traffic is bad!)
The common thread, I realized, is being trapped. I cannot stand the idea of being trapped. And losing my mobility and my sight and my ability to speak just made that fear all too real for me.

Silly, right? To feel this fear during a frickin' spa treatment. Afterwards, I told my husband that I really had to learn how to meditate. So that's on my list now.

At least I have the clearest skin I've had in a really long time!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala (Plus Two Side Dishes)

It had been a while since I last had dinner at my Indian family's house, so I was seriously craving for Indian cuisine. I thus declared last night Indian Night at our household! (Belated Happy Diwali!)

Found a recipe at allrecipes.com, but made do without cilantro--the supermarket was all out. Boo. I thought there was too much salt in the original recipe, so I cut it by about a third. Also, the chicken is supposed to be grilled, but since I still don't have my own grill (double boo), I just lightly fried it. This is quite spicy, so if you're not a fan of the burn, you might want to take it down a notch by cutting all spices in half.

Chicken Tikka Masala



Ingredients

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1-2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. (Note: I lightly fried the chicken in a bit of oil instead.)
  4. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. (Note: Make sure to scrape the spices from the bottom of the pan.) Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. (Note: I only simmered it for about 10 minutes.) Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. (Note: I only simmered it for about 5 minutes.) Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serves 3.
Because it's so spicy, you'll want a lot of starch to sop it up. Aside from rice, I prepared two side dishes (shown in the photo above): a simple potato dish which I got from my BFF Madhuri, and a super-refreshing cucumber dish that I got from some forum and modified.

You Say "Po-tah-to"

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 small-ish potatoes, cubed
Juice of half a lemon
Salt
Curry powder
  1. Saute garlic and pepper in a bit of oil until garlic is lightly browned.
  2. Add potatoes, lemon juice, salt, and curry powder. Mix well.
  3. Cook for five minutes. Done!
Cool as a Cucumber

Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Salt
Cumin
  1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together. You can add cilantro if you've got it.
  2. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Nice and refreshing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In Loving Memory

Today is All Saints' Day, a holiday and traditionally a day when Filipinos trek to the cemeteries to visit their dearly departed. Because the crowds have become insane over the years, my family and I normally do our rounds a few days before.

It's said that people only really die when the ones they leave behind cease to remember them. While we were doing our cemetery run, I started to think about my loved ones who've moved on, and it scared me to think that I can barely remember some of their voices anymore. So today, allow me to tell you a little about the close relatives that have passed away, with an anecdote or two about each. This is me trying to keep their memory alive.

Tonton. I knew death before I was even born--my brother died while my mom was around seven months pregnant with me. He was six. People say I look like him. (I barely look like my other brothers.) Sometimes I think that the concept of death never had to be explained to me. I just somehow...knew.

Tatay. My paternal grandfather. I was around three when he died of lung cancer, so I don't really have any memories of him. I do remember having a picture of him with his arm around a toddler me.

Lolo. My maternal grandfather. The day he died, I witnessed one of the most heartbreaking things ever. My lola came home from the hospital, and went straight to my lolo's bed. She cried into the pillows, her hands caressing the sheets. I get teary-eyed whenever I remember it.

I cried a lot when he died. I remember, on summer days, he would be sitting in his favorite butaka chair and I would lie on the bed beside the chair. We would watch TV and I would fall asleep, holding my lolo's hand.

Ate Minnie. This cousin died after giving birth to her first child. We weren't close, but I remember her having a great sense of humor.

Kuya Ramon. My cousin, based in New York, died due to an aneurysm, so sudden. He was in a coma for a few days, and I remember praying, "Please God, save his life, as he once saved mine." See, one New Year's Day when they were in town (I was about six), at the stroke of midnight, I was standing in one spot, greeting everybody a happy new year. Kuya Ramon suddenly ran, picked me up, and carried me away. I was bewildered, confused--until a firecracker exploded near where I had been standing. Dude saved my life.

Tito Boy. I was in my senior year of high school, and I remember one of the teachers calling me to the principal's office over lunch. The principal went on to say that they got news reports that my uncle--who had been suffering an unknown illness and was confined at the hospital for a couple of days--had died. I had to call home to confirm. "Kamusta si Tito Boy?" ("How is Tito Boy?") I asked my yaya, who answered the phone. I can't forget the words and how she said it: "Ay--patay na." ("Oh--he's dead.") And I can't forget screaming in the principal's office. (Very similar to that scene in Gone with the Wind, where Scarlett comes home and finds her mother has died.) I broke down. I remember saying that, through everything that had happened in my family, this was the only time I asked God, "Why?" My uncle was a good man. He was my second father.

A year before his death, things at home (and in school) weren't great. I don't really blog about this period in my life because there are just some things I'm intensely private about. And I normally write about the happy stuff, because I'd rather spread positivity and sunshine. But anyway, things weren't great, and I wasn't doing great, but I wasn't really showing my immediate family that I was affected. But my tito--he really cared. It was only in his company that I allowed myself to really break down. And to have him taken away from me, from a family who loved him so dearly, on top of all the other stuff I had to deal with at that time...it was just too much.

His sickness, death, funeral, and burial received extensive media coverage. For a time, I hated the media because they kept printing rumors-disguised-as-fact about his sickness, and we couldn't even say goodbye to my uncle in peace because of the hordes of journalists and photogs surrounding his burial spot. I think that was the moment I decided that, even though I was most likely going to end up in media, I was never going to be a news reporter.

Tito Roger. Just a few weeks after Tito Boy's death, another beloved uncle passed away.:( I wasn't really close to him. But the closer I get to parenthood, the more I think about what a great parent he was. He and my tita made such a great team, and raised such awesome kids.

Jonathan. "Patay na si Jonathan." ("Jonathan's dead.") I remember my mom telling me that the minute I walked into her office when I came to pick her up. "Jonathan who?" I asked, confused. It couldn't be my cousin, I thought. He was my age! But indeed it was him. I was stunned. Jonathan was based in the US. We used to write letters to each other (before the age of email and Facebook), and he would ask me to translate lines to Filipino so he could use them on girls. He was shot to death.:(

Dada Flora. The yaya mentioned earlier was more than a yaya; she was family. She was with us for decades, and her relatives worked for us as well. Around 2003, she retired, went home to her province, and suddenly passed away a couple of weeks later.

Lola. My maternal grandmother. We lived together for years. She used to sit with her legs apart so that some cloth from her daster would dangle, and I could use it as a little swing. as we watched Jon en Marsha. She was a stickler for cleanliness and she was a great cook who made the best leche flan ever. Even in her 90s, when she was bedridden, her mind was still razor-sharp. She could remember things like how much a kilo of fish was in 1927!

Inay. My paternal grandmother passed away while I was in New York last November, and it devastated me that I wasn't able to say goodbye. Nor was I able to go to her funeral. I found out about her death right before I had to give a talk at Hearst. I cried in my hotel room, then had to get myself together. This was the grandma who, when I was around four, patiently removed bristles from my hair, one by one, when a brush got entangled.

They were all wonderful people, all sorely missed. But we look back on our time with them with fondness. And though they're no longer with us, our love for them stays strong. We won't forget.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One More Thing

One thing I forgot to include in my "10 Things I Love" list is old movies.


My absolute favorite

Recently, when I was on sick leave, I spent a good part of the day watching Turner Classic Movies. Was able to catch Julia Misbehaves (with a very young, breathtakingly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor) and Weekend at the Waldorf (starring Ginger Rogers--it reminded me of an old-school Love, Actually). And just last weekend, even though I was all dressed up and ready to go out, I decided to stay home the minute Casablanca started showing.

A friend asked me what it was about old movies that appealed to me. I think it's because they show a bygone era--they're windows to a past that I'll never experience. And in old movies, women are proper ladies, and men are proper gentlemen! Everyone is always well-dressed and polished, and there is always a hint of glamour. And even the worst cad can look absolutely dapper!

So y'all know what channel I'll be tuning in to this looong weekend!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Sketching Skills Are a Little Rusty...

Today, Hamil's seven-year-old nephew and I both drew a dragon. My husband found it absolutely hilarious that he couldn't tell between my drawing and that of a first-grader.



Can you? Take a wild guess!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Safe Are You?

Nearly a year ago, my bag was stolen when a thief broke into our car by smashing a window. A few years before that, my husband's laptop was stolen when a thief broke into the SUV he was driving that day. It's scary but true: Smash-and-grab incidents aren't all that uncommon.

This is one of the main reasons why my husband brought in Hanita Security Tint. Made in Israel, the tint makes glass less vulnerable to break-ins, vandalism, and shattered glass from flying objects/natural disasters (Ondoy wreaked havoc on many an establishment with glass windows, doors, or walls). A pretty cool demonstration:



The product is pretty close to our hearts since we've been victims of theft. And, truth be told, I feel somewhat naked now when I know our car doesn't have security tint! The windows are sometimes bare after my husband conducts a round of tests.

One of the things I love most about my husband is that he's incredibly driven. Once he has his mind set on something, he wastes no time in trying to make it happen. (Meanwhile, his wife is incredibly risk-averse!) He has a fiery entrepreneurial spirit, and this is his latest venture. It would be so great if you could support it!:) The shop/office is at the South Parking Area of Metrowalk. You might want to have security tint installed on your vehicle (or office or home). To learn more about the line of products, visit the Hanita Philippines website, and do Like their Facebook page while you're at it. And please spread the word, especially to your car afficionado friends! I'd greatly appreciate it if you could repost the video on your blogs.:)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Recipe: Buffalo Wings

This recipe is from the July issue of Good Housekeeping. It's a three-step process, (make bleu cheese dressing, make seasoned flour, make hot sauce glaze), and each step has its own sub-steps. I think next time, I'll just use store-bought coating instead of making my own to cut down on prep time. Enjoy!

Buffalo Wings


Ingredients


10 chicken wings
Oil for deep frying

For bleu cheese dressing:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
50g bleu cheese

For seasoned flour:
1/3 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For hot sauce glaze:
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup hot chili sauce
  1. Make bleu cheese dressing: In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients except cheese together. Crumble bleu cheese and whisk into dressing. Transfer to a container and let flavors develop overnight in the refrigerator. (I just left it in the fridge for about an hour and it was fine.)
  2. Make seasoned flour: Mix all ingredients together. Coat chicken wings. Set aside 10 minutes. Toss in seasoned flour to coat wings again. (Husband took over as I was a little scared of the oil!) In a deep frying pan, heat oil. Deep fry chicken wings until juices run clear when pierced. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Make hot sauce glaze: In another frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add Worcestershire sauce and chili sauce, and stir to mix. Add chicken wings and toss to coat. Serve with bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks on the side. (Note: The chili sauce I bought wasn't so spicy. Next time, I'll probably add loads of hot sauce as well as chopped siling labuyo.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Today's Dose of Cuteness Is Brought to You By...

Ellen!

Did you see this video on YouTube?



Well, Ellen had the two little girls on her show. I was just laughing the entire time. And teared up towards the end. Haha. Totally made my day! Watch this and then this.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What Would You Rather Be Doing Right Now?

That's a big question posed in this month's O Magazine. The feature--about finding your true passion--is something that really resonated with me because, truth be told, I have yet to find mine. I love my job, yes. I enjoy playing disc, for sure. I'm happy puttering about the house and cooking, true. But what is that one thing (or two or three) that'll make my heart sing?

Oprah says to ask three little questions to find your true calling (and it doesn't necessarily have to be your day job):
  1. How does what you're doing make you feel? "When you're honoring your calling, there's an undeniable sense of stimulation and exhilaration...It just feels so right." I don't have that feeling yet, of knowing that this is what I'm really and truly meant to do.
  2. Does it have a positive impact on others? "Nothing that really calls you is ever for you alone." My admission in number one does not come without some guilt--after all, my magazine reaches a staggering 244,000 (!) readers a month (based on the latest Synovate survey). This is a platform that I'm incredibly privileged to have, and yet, somehow I feel this isn't my be-all and end-all. I keep thinking that there's something...more.
  3. Does it turn up the volume and increase the vibration of your life? "When others see your light shining, they'll be inspired to shine theirs, too." Lately, I've been feeling like my light is fading--not that I was a shining beacon of inspiration to others to begin with. But I've just been feeling all sorts of restless and burned out. (That's due in part to the fact that I haven't been on a plane in three months.) I really do need a break (even my boss said so), to recharge, take stock, and really figure out what my calling is.
Tomorrow, ze huzband will help me figure it all out, with O Magazine as kodigo. Have you found your true calling? Share, share, share! I'd love to hear your story.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Esquire Ball

In case you haven't heard, there's a new kid on the block...



Summit has released the first issue of Esquire, another title from Hearst Magazines (parent company of my own GH as well as of Cosmo and Town and Country). Heard it's selling like hotcakes so grab a copy ASAP.

The Esquire Ball was held on October 5. I normally don't like going to glitzy events, but I figured, 1) how often does Summit launch new, big-name titles? Might as well be there for it, and support a sister (brother?) mag; 2) it would be nice getting all dressed up for date night for a change; and 3) two words: free drinks!


Dress by Madhuri Hemandas. Necklace by House of Trois. Bag by Aranaz. Shoes from...I don't remember anymore. My husband looked quite dapper.<3

The invitation said "formal" but I was given the go-signal to wear something short. (The gowns I have in my closet are too...wedding-y.) I just upped the glam factor with a gorgeous Indian-inspired necklace. For hair, I didn't want to do my usual loose waves, so I opted for a messy updo inspired by Vanessa Hudgens. Mine was originally very pouffy and, er, sagala-like, so I had the curls toned down a notch. By the time this photo was taken, my hair had lost a bit of volume already. It reminded me a lot of my wedding hair.

Vanessa Hudgens photo from here

We got there at around 8:30 p.m. and already the place--from the lobby to the ballroom--was packed! All the ladies I saw sashaying in cut-out dresses demonstrated that the theme for the night was: commando. (You can imagine how happy the men were!)

It was pretty cool how videos of US cover stars (like Ryan Gosling and Robert De Niro) were shown, wherein they each said, "I'm [insert name here], and this is Esquire." Then it ended with our first cover man saying, "I'm Manny Pacquiao, and this is Esquire Philippines." Woot!


With the ladies of the Publishers Group. Readers, meet the wonderful women who handle your favorite Summit titles.

After intro messages from Lance Gokongwei and editor in chief Erwin Romulo, there were performances by Solenn, Ogie Alcasid, and Ely Buendia. DJ Mars Miranda kept the hiphop beats going til well past midnight. A few stars came out to play--Anne Curtis, D, a couple of Azkals. I'm sure PEP will have all the deets soon. We were pretty content just standing in our corner, sipping our drinks and munching on canapes!

It was nice feeling like I was in an episode of Gossip Girl, but this whole dressing-up-and-going-to-fancy-shindigs thing is only something I can do on occasion. Today, I'm happy to be back in my flats and non-hair-sprayed tresses!

P.S. See what stars wore to this formal affair. Have fun browsing here! My faves: Michelle Madrigal in Martin Bautista, and Arci Munoz. Whose outfit did you like?:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Years ago, Hamil gave me my first iPod. It accompanied me as I ran, danced, traveled, and dreamed. I have this man to thank for providing the video montage that is my life with some much-needed background music.



RIP, Steve Jobs. You were a true iNnovator.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Some Days, I Really Love My Job

For the most part, I love my job. I don't have to sit at a desk all day. I don't have to deal with math (much). I work with a very efficient team. I can wear whatever I want to work. I get a lot of free stuff--if you work in a mag that covers beauty, fashion, health, food, and cleaning, you're bound to get an abundance of products. I get to write and edit, two things that I enjoy doing. And it warms my heart whenever I read letters from readers who say that my magazine has helped them in one way or another.

But some days, I REALLY love my job. See, there are days when I get invited to events and I get to do this...


Photo courtesy of The Spa

On their 15th anniversary, The Spa treated us to a bunch of services. I didn't have enough time for everything, so I opted for one of their newest offerings: the Crystalline Skin Body Treatment. It's essentially a body scrub plus massage. Bliss! And I had my own villa at their High Street branch! Sublime!

For the first half hour of the 90-minute treatment, I felt warm oil being dribbled all over my body, before I was gently scrubbed down. They use a mix of chamomile, rosemary, jojoba, aloe vera gel, and lemon. I then washed everything off under their rainforest shower (in my own villa! Did I mention that already?), before proceeding to a private room for an utterly relaxing 60-minute massage.

If only more work days were like this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Of Premieres and Pedring

I was supposed to watch D's movie premiere today, and was ready and willing to give my support. I did have three concerns though:
  1. I get really affected when I watch movies about cheating. I normally want to gouge the mistress' eyes out!
  2. I was slightly nervous about how my husband would react to a dramatic film. I don't really know a lot of guys who would eagerly line up to see a movie called No Other Woman.
  3. I didn't know if I was fully prepared to see a friend MOMOL it up onscreen.
But because of Typhoon Pedring, the premiere was cancelled. Oh well. Will have to catch it when it comes out. Maybe not with my husband though. And in case you haven't seen the trailer...


Monday, September 26, 2011

Style Inspiration: Last-Season Serena

My life has been filled with work and rakets (working on a special issue of another magazine, editing a book, writing an article for a national daily) and utterly devoid of any excitement! Hence, my silence in the blogosphere.

I did go to a wedding after-party a couple of weeks ago (congrats, RyChan!), and wore a loose interpretation of one of Serena van der Woodsen's outfits from last season's Gossip Girl:

Serena photo from here. Pants, Pink Lemonade. Top, Express. Belt, 50th Avenue. Nude pumps, Parisian. Black clutch from a friend.

I had been looking for those pants for a frickin' year before I found 'em. Instead of wearing a gold jacket over a white top, I opted for my totally disco, gold sequined top. I could throw on a white blazer for a reverse interpretation of Serena's top half.

And yes, this outfit is literally so last season!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Series of Fortunate Events

I took a break from A Song of Ice and Fire for a couple of days so that I could read this...


Photo from Sam

In case you haven't heard, this book is by a Filipina author, and it was published by Random House, one of the biggest publishers in the US. *clap clap* I first heard about Sam over the summer, and decided to include her in the main feature in the July issue of Good Housekeeping. I had so much fun during the interview, and was sad that I had to cut it down due to space constraints.

By now, her story has come out everywhere--magazines (she says we were the first to "discover" her), newspapers, blogs. But if you're unfamiliar with it, allow me to walk you through it:

Sam worked in marketing for years, and was quite successful in her field. During the interview, her husband proudly told us that she was a senior manager by the time she was 23 or 24, so she really had what it took to rise all the way to the top. But after having her first child and realizing that she didn't get to know him during his first year of life because she was just so busy, she decided to leave it all behind. At 30 years old, she retired.

She then plunged into the business that she and her husband started. They established Cold Rock here, after discovering it in Australia. When things were settled, she was pretty much a full-time mom to her two kids--a son and a daughter. (And P.S. I met her daughter at the book launch and she was ADORABLE!) She would drop her son off at Ateneo every day, and wait at Starbucks because it just didn't make sense to drive all the way back to their home in Paranaque and back again. She had a few hours of free time, just sipping her coffee. And so she decided to write a book.

She knew nothing about book publishing, but she did know that she wanted to reach as many people as possible. "Dreaming is free, and if you're going to dream, dream big na rin," she told us, explaining her decision to try to get the book published in the US. To learn how to do it, she bought a book: Publishing for Dummies! It's a complex process which involves finding an agent, querying, and finally, the nail-biting experience of waiting to find out if the book will be picked up. She was in Hong Kong when her agent called her to tell her that Random House wanted to buy the book.

Sam's editor says Before Ever After "has commercial fun with literary heartache." The main character is Shelley, and the book starts with the death of her husband, the love of her life. This video better explains what the story is all about...



I think the paperback edition is available exclusively at National Book Store. Do grab a copy and tell me what you think.:)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Month and a Half in Westeros

Finally got through A Feast for Crows. It took me a month to read the first three books (about a thousand pages each), full-time job and disc and all, but it took me about two or three weeks just to finish the fourth book. It had quite a few characters that I didn't really care about, so it was hard to get through. But, extraneous characters and all, it still made me gasp, tear up, and pester my husband with plot points! Plus, I have a new favorite character. But no spoilers here.

Gearing up for this massive book, which Best Husband Ever surprised me with...



But before I get to that, I think I'll probably read another book that's been waiting in the wings for two months now.

My nightstand is a sight to behold.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two Easy-Peasy Recipes

My go-to breakfast for when I'm in a hurry:

Banana-Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie


Photo from here

Ingredients:
1 Cavendish banana, sliced and frozen
1 container strawberry yogurt
1 glass low-fat milk
1 teaspoon honey
  1. Dump everything in a blender.
  2. Blend until no solid banana chunks are left.
  3. Drink! Head out the door!
Serves one. I also do this with mangoes and mixed fruit--I freeze the fruit so I wouldn't have to use ice. I find that the consistency of the frozen fruit is enough to make a nice, thick smoothie.

And because I'm feeling generous, another recipe--the easiest pasta evurrr. Whipped this up using whatever was left in the pantry/fridge.

Garlicky Pasta in Olive Oil with Tuna and Thyme

Ingredients:
About 150 grams of pasta
Olive oil
About 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can light tuna
Capers (I used about half a small bottle)
Zest of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Dried thyme
Juice of half a lemon
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Saute garlic. Add tuna, lemon zest, capers, and season with salt and pepper to taste, stirring continuously.
  4. Add pasta, and stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle with thyme. Stir.
  5. Add lemon juice just before removing from heat. Ta-dah!
Serves 2. My husband loved it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pretties in Pink

After four years of competitive disc, I finally have half-decent photos of me in action. And I finally figured out the key to action photos wherein I don't have a stupid expression on my face...







Just cover my damn face!

In other news, we weren't champions at the recently concluded Malakas at Maganda league, but our Yaya Couture jerseys were definitely winners!



Had a blast playing with this team. I loved everyone's never-say-die attitude (even when we were way behind, and even when there were just eight players standing after three games). And whatever happened, walang sisihan (no blaming each other)--we were all in it together! I used to hate this league, but this year I realized that it was a great opportunity for the girls to step up. It was an awesome learning experience, and I think I've finally embraced my role as handler.

To the girls, if you're reading this, thank you for putting up with my temper, for playing your hearts out, for keeping your heads up. I truly enjoyed the last few weekends with you. And...sino si Victorio?

All photos by Ivy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

And They Ate Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, a prince and princess wanted to celebrate two years of wedded bliss by going to a magical place called Lemuria. On their way there, they were met by all sorts of enchanted creatures.



After making their way around the Kingdom of Horseshoe, they finally found the fabled palace, set amidst lush greenery, all bright and inviting underneath the starless sky.



The prince and princess went up the Machuka-tiled steps lined with candles...



...and found themselves in the great hall.



They found a cozy spot by the window, with vines swaying in the breeze outside.



The people of Lemuria were ever-gracious, welcoming the couple with freshly baked bread.



The prince and princess soon found out that Lemurians feasted on seven-course meals every night, and they were expected to do the same. The first course was set before them: Beef carpaccio with almonds, fleur de sel, olive oil.



It was followed by prawn bisque, made using prawns from the surrounding seas. (The Lemurians were kind enough to serve the prince mushroom soup, to keep him from getting a royal rash.)



They were then served more fare from Lemurian waters: tender squid. This was cooked with porcini mushrooms and essence of Berlinoise.



Afterwards, the prince and princess cleansed their palates with a refreshing strawberry sorbet.



They were then served almond-crusted white fish fillet with eggplant parmegiano and balsamic reduction...



...as well as beef perigourd with foie gras (the princess' favorite!), anchoiade and port wine reduction.



They also enjoyed two kinds of dessert: a medley of ice cream flavors topped with whipped cream and striped chocolate chips...



...and a rich mousse au chocolate parfumee' a l'orange.



After they had their fill, the prince and princess wanted to take a tour of the palace. Their guide led them to the famed wine cellar--a cold place where wines from other faraway lands were kept and closely guarded.



The prince and princes ended their visit by selecting a red from the kingdom of Chile. They bid farewell to Lemuria and went back to their land with satisfied tummies, dreaming about other places to visit in the years to come.

P.S. Happy anniversary to my prince!

Lemuria is located at 5 Julieta Circle, Horseshoe Village, Cubao, Quezon City. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 6 to 11 p.m. (lunch by reservation only). Contact them through (02) 723-7139.