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

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

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... 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.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wanna Grow Your Money?

I can't for the life of me figure out investments. Anything that involves numbers kinda gives me a glazed expression. (It's one of the reasons I took up Comm in college!) And I'm quite sure I'm not the only one. So each month in Good Housekeeping, we try to break it down for our readers in our Good Money section, in terms people like me could understand!

How wonderful it is that there's a new show on GMA7 that has the same thrust.

You work hard for your moneh--Pesos and Sense is all about making your money work hard for you! First episode airs tomorrow (Saturday, September 3) at 8:30 AM. Now there's a good reason to get up early on a weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Guess Who Our September Cover Girl Is?

I'm a happy girl. For the all-important September issue, we were able to get this lovely lady to appear on our cover...

Cover photo by Ocs Alvarez. Makeup by Omar Ermita. Hair by Bea Misa. Styling by Pia Rojas. Set styling by Jean Paul dela Rosa.

Hurray, Jinkee Pacquiao! This also marks the first time I did a cover story for GH. It had been a while since I last wrote about a person (for years, I was writing mostly about houses, and had a monthly career column in Marie Claire), so I was a tad nervous. But Jinkee was incredibly easy to talk to. She doesn't hold back and she doesn't BS you. So refreshing!

A barely made-up me with a milky white Jinkee. This photo made me understand why makeup artists always fill in my eyebrows!

So she talks about their houses (sooo many houses...during the time of the interview, they had just purchased their Forbes Park home), her kids, Manny, money. Ah, to have that much money!

While we're on the topic of, the September ish is our money issue. We've got money secrets from successful entreps, experts, and GH moms; tips for sticky utang situations (like, should you lend money to a friend?); and loads of finds for P500 and under. (Yes, even jeans!) Plus other cool stuff like how to soothe your foot aches (from suffering in sky-high heels) to recipes using five ingredients or less. That last one has such gorgeous photos...

You got that right: Just five ingredients! (Well, not including water, salt, and pepper!) Pork Sausage and Bean Stew, and Baked Eggplant and Rice Casserole. Click on photos to enlarge and fully appreciate just how mouthwatering they are! Photos by Ocs Alvarez. Recipes by Roselle Miranda. Styling by Bel Alvarez.

Do grab a copy! Available at supermarkets, newsstands, bookstores for just P100!