Saturday, June 28, 2014

mind wanders || how you can catch stress

It's Friday and I'm at home, spending the night blogging, reading and simply enjoying the quiet.
This is something valuable to me since I always have people around me at work. I like them but being a natural introvert, I enjoy solitude.

If you've read through my 2-months worth of blog posts, you would have guessed that I love reading. It does wonders for me. Educating myself and sharing whatever tidbit I learned is a constant goal that delights me. So I want to share it in my little part of the web. :)


Stress is a huge issue for me. I experience it constantly and I try to find ways to learn more about it so I deal with it more effectively. This article from Huffington Post, opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on stress.

Maybe I'm not just reading wide enough but I've always thought that stress is self-controlled. That's it is within us and that if we're strong and vigilant enough, we can be clean of it. But then after reading the article, it made me rethink what I believe in.

According to the article, empathy is a factor. It's about how empathy can be a neutral characteristic instead of being solely positive, like many of us think. Myself included. I salute empathy since it's not easy to put oneself in another's shoe. Now that I'm a bit older experienced, I realized that the article has a point. Empathy can also work with giving yourself secondary stress since "the other person's shoe" can be stressful.

You can read the other factors, more or less related to the first one, here.

I think this unique explanation just shows how social humans are. We not only depend on each other, but we affect one another unconsciously. This creates a responsibility for us to not only live for ourselves but ultimately, for a bigger purpose that is beyond ourselves. Everyday, try to be the influencer, the one with the good vibes. Fight for the good side of empathy and it will reward you right back.

Good or bad, that's fascinating, don't you think? What are your thoughts about stress showcased this way? Leave your comments below. :)

After reading the article, you might want to see a few tips how to avoid second hand stress. Here, then. You're welcome. ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

message in a bottle: being alone

In this busy world where you can be with anyone anytime, having some moments alone by yourself is scarce. Sometimes, it can be at the bottom of our list of priorities. Most of the time, we simply try to avoid it.

A lot of the people I get to talk with often dislike doing things when they cannot have another person to come along with them. They prefer to not eat than eat alone at work, especially during lunch time when it seems everyone has a lunch buddy. They prefer to not go shopping alone since the idea of not speaking to anyone while walking will make them look pathetic. It's like the high school peer pressure all over again.

I understand how they feel. I really do. There are times when I have something going on in my life and I just cannot be alone in public. It's too much personal turmoil for me. I get the bursts of loneliness and self consciousness. I have thoughts that maybe people are looking at me, wondering why I'm by myself. But let me assure you, they don't. They can't care less.

I always stress just how important it is to have that independence even without your friends to serve as social comfort. There's no running away from your own thoughts, missus. It takes so much emotional peace to be able to do it constantly. Now that's something to work for! :)

I used to have a big group of girlfriends that served as a status symbol for us. Once you're in, you're defined by your similarities and not by your uniqueness. I wasn't my own person. High school and college were that way. I can't shake the constant feeling of emptiness and being lost. I know I should have done something to fix that but I didn't. I was socially scared. But then when I started working, earning by myself, entering the corporate world.. I realized that the thing I needed is to know myself. I can only do that through being alone.

You simply have to have your alone time. Read a book, sweat it out, have a massage, watch people from a distance, take a class to improve yourself. Do things for you. You can do a lot of things on your own, for you. The silence helps you think on your own, without a third person. The solitude molds you into knowing what you want. It brings you to a whole new understanding of yourself that you just cannot have when there's another perspective pestering you.

When you're on your own, it doesn't mean that you have to be sad. It doesn't mean that people pity you. It just shows that you have your own foundation. Your own strength.

Try it.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

early bird breakfast club

Bacon and Egg Nest (Php 195.00)

Lemon Butter Bangus (Php 325.00)

It's only once in a blue moon that I get to spend time off work. Those are the days when I want to enjoy myself or simply take my mom out to lunch.

Early Bird Breakfast Club is the perfect choice for us since it offers a wide array of dishes. Mom loves fries and is on a "no white rice diet" that she always loves talking about. She did lost a lot of weight because of that so she decided to just stick with it for around 3 years now. She had the bacon and egg nest.

Me, on the other hand, is a carb-machine. I eat anything (which is obvious from my posts) but I try to stop myself most of the time when I feel like I've had more than enough. Hehehe. I had the lemon butter bangus.

Talking while eating, we didn't notice how fast time went by I had to hurry back to work! :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jamba Juice at work

I had a crush on Jamba Juice the day it was brought to us by people at work. It was my first time and it was glorious. I did love it, or maybe it's because I ordered the "safe" drink--Banana Berry. Which contains.. Yeah, you got it. Bananas and berries. Tried, tested and simple won this round.

On a side note: It contains tons of sugar so it's not advisable to drink it everyday. Even if it's all healthy-healthy-blahblah, it will add some lbs on you. Consider yourself warned. ;)

I guess the better part of this was we were able to go out from our cubicles and have some sunlight even for just a little while. My colleagues and I work long hours in front of a computer and little joys like this (or sometimes it's milk tea or overpriced coffee) makes a huge difference on our days.

It was just so hard to focus back to working after having some fruity lovin' but all's good, just a few hours before the end of our shift.

What did you do for fun today? :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes

Holidays that fall on a weekday is great. If it fell on a Friday, it would have made me ecstatic. But Thursday is good enough for me.

It was Independence Day in the Philippines last week and it gave us a chance to be.. (for the lack of a better term) free. Free from the work schedules, the call of a computer, the stress of having to do what's asked of you. Free to be just relaxed and happy. I know it's not what Independence Day was all about but it's my own, personal take on it.

Fie and I had our holiday lunch over at Banapple. The weather's getting better now since it's almost rainy season already. I love the cold breeze, it makes dressing up better as I can layer my clothes now. Back to the food, I was initally in a good mood but the servers in Banapple really ticked me off. To keep the negativity short, it has something to do with the reservation of seats and the rude tone from a server. It's not as annoying now that I'm writing about it. Fie laughed at me and called me an old lady for ranting about it. :)

The interior really picked up the homey vibe Banapple is famous for. The SM North EDSA branch never runs out of people. We pass by that branch every week and never did I see it have a down time. We think that it can preserve its vibe if it has a bigger area so the place won't be so crowded. I see people usually stay a bit to talk, read or what not, not just to eat and go.

I was served a good lasagna dish, the Banapple lasagna roll-ups (Php195.00). I actually prefer having them rolled like this since the cheese and flavor are distributed more evenly. I'm not OCD when it comes to eating good food so I slicing down the lasagna roll really was a happy moment. It was a subtle kind of cheesy. The soft pasta breaks down easily and the herbed cream and parmesan filling just bursts out for your mouth to devour.

Fie had the pan-fried porkloin with herb mushroom gravy (Php195.00). The gravy was a bit salty for our taste so it's he slowly pushed the sauce away on one side of the plate. The porkloin was yummy though. And the serving size of the rice is A-OK with any guy, I could imagine. It's around 1 3/4 cup so it can really fill you up.

I always love home made iced teas (Php65.00). Banapple's didn't fail me. You can taste the tea in the drink, unlike other commercialized teas where it's all sugar and no herbs whatsoever. I'm a huge drinker since I tend to get thirsty a lot (I'm a huge talker as well, so there). I always try to drink less than I use to so I won't finish the glass quickly.

Wow, it was such a big meal that didn't empty our pockets too much. No wonder people come all the time, the place is cute, the food is good, and the price you pay for it is even better. This Independence Day lunch left us satisfied and happy! :)

This can honestly be one of my comfort food faves. What's yours? :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Enchanted Kingdom

Little trips outside the metro makes me so excited. Especially this one when we went to Enchanted Kingdom, an amusement park in Laguna.

How to get there: Go to Starmall by riding the MRT to Shaw Station. There's a van station there that will go straight to Balibago (1 hour travel from Manila to Laguna). Just tell the driver that you're commuting to Enchanted Kingdom, they know that they'll drop you off at Walmart. Ask the guard where the tricycle station is. Ride it to EK (5 mins).

The place lives up to its name, it was enchanting indeed. It has been a while since my last visit and a lot has improved now. I loved sight seeing and walking around in the heat (sweating profusely). I hated the rides where I almost felt my stomach up my throat, not a good, thrilling feeling at all. But at the end of the day, we had a fun time to say the least. :)

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mr Jones

As I learn to become more mature and independent, I always look back and become grateful that I have such a caring and supportive family. I appreciate them more now that I don't get to spend so much time with them anymore. So it's always a good surprise to discover old photos like this one from Mr Jones.

Sundays are the best. As much as possible, I stay at home with my family or we try to visit new restaurants. The only important thing for us is that the resto should have fries. Without it, life is nothing for my mom. She loves having it even if we're in a Japanese place. Good thing Mr Jones at Greenbelt has awesome fries.. and more. =)

Mr Jones is a contemporary diner inspired by the 1960's era. It's the newest Raintree restaurant that offers authentic American cuisine. Need your burger fix? Greenbelt 5 is the place to be! It retained the iconic patterns and bright colors of the 60's but with a subtle modern twist.

The place can get a bit warm since the right wall is just a huge mirror so it doesn't block off the sun or its warmth. There are a couple of toys and board games outside (in the al fresco area) that are available for the little dudes as they wait for their meals.

This is my favorite mac and cheese so far in my 23 years. From the moment it was laid down in the table, you can just smell the cheese still melting. It's the first thing I grab spoonfuls of. I usually add several drops of Tabasco hot sauce before placing a generous forkful in my mouth. Wow. The noodles were soft and light, wrapped with the various kinds of cheese that explodes in your mouth when you chew. You honestly won't need the green peas and bits of bacon. The cheesy pasta is a meal in itself.

Just wash it down with freshly squeezed lemonade (Pp195.00), that's all you'll ever need.

Wicked Truffled Mac n’ Cheese (Php 395.00)
I like fries that's mixed with something else. It makes the ordinary extraordinary. The truffle disco beef, gravy and cheese fries does the trick for me. The mixture was uniquely placed inside a small bucket and everytime you put your hand inside, there's a surprise on what you'll get (either a small slice of potato, a big KFC-sized fry, or a tiny piece of beef).

My brother ordered the overly sweet Hapa Howly milkshake. I'm not into it so much but I have to say it really is creamy. They give you a small glass for the leftover milkshake that didn't fit in the glass.
LEFT: Hapa Howly (Php275.00)
RIGHT: Truffle Disco Beef Gravy and Cheese Fries (Php395.00)
Dad ordered Uncle Andy's Cheesesteak. I wasn't able to taste this since he inhaled it quickly while I did my own share of inhaling the mac n cheese. Hehehe.
Uncle Andy's Cheesesteak (Php365.00)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I can't believe it took me this long before posting about my favorite Italian restaurant, Italianni's!

Italianni's completed their array of dishes by searching the best family recipes in Italy, offering their history as well. To pay homage for those families who cooked up the Italian concoctions we love to dine in today, many of the dishes have their names.

Our family love this place as we're Italian cuisine lovers. We purchased their Platinum Bistro card to avail of a lot of discounts (20% per visit), complimentary appetizers and other freebies available for us. It really gave us the value of our money. There was never an unsatisfying meal in Italianni's.

LEFT: Salmon and Asparagus Salad **I believe they don't offer this anymore.. Too bad :(
RIGHT UP: Salmon Carpaccio
Thin slices of fresh salmon fillet with cherry tomatoes, capers, basil pesto, black olives, and tomato relish.
RIGHT DOWN: Grilled Pork Chop Au Poivre
Grilled pepper-crusted Pork Chops served over a medly of rosemary potatoes, carrots, crisp-fried spinach, seasoned with marsala wine sauce

Spaghetti Vongole
Fresh clams, sautèed with garlic, tomatoes, white wine, olive oil and sprinkled with chilli flakes
Their food and interior decor just scream VIA ITALIA! You'll feel like you just visited an Italian family's ancestral home. The walls are covered with historical pictures of famous sights and of family events. Italianni's have enticed their guests to see the resto as a place for gathering, having good conversations and even better food.

LEFT: Fettucinne Tartufo e Proscuitto
Premium pasta, tuffle essence cream and italian ham make this a simple and delightful dish
RIGHT: Panna Cotta
We make this Italian vanilla custard fresh daily. Served with your choice of sauce: from mango, blueberry or honey with walnuts

Greenbelt 2, Esperanza Street, Makati City

Resto photos are from Philstar and Wazzuppilipinas

Monday, June 9, 2014

10 things I learned from working out

1. Waking up early is possible if I really want to.

Starting my day at around 6:00 to 6:30AM is almost automatic for me now. But back when I was just beginning to commit to exercise, I drag my butt off my comfy bed (which just gets comfier in the morning rather than at night) and grudgingly change into my workout clothes. All before breakfast. Waking up earlier than others eventually taught me the value of being able to do something I set my mind into.

2. Appreciation is greater when I work hard for something.

There's this strange tribe of women that were born sexy and doesn't really need to exercise or diet to look good. Those who eat tons of carbs and can comfortably fit into a bikini the next day.. I hate them. Haha! But then.. We all have to work with what we're given. Working hard to make my body sexy healthy is something I don't take for granted. It makes me want to take care of it more because I know how hard I worked to achieve it.

3. I'm stronger that I ever imagined.

Sweating our butts off on a Jillian Michaels exercise video is not easy. Her words of encouragement carry me through the workout. The constant statement that gets me every time is "You are stronger than you ever imagined! Don't forget that! You can stay in this pose for 5... 3.... Drop it." It makes me want to not stop, to continue in spite of the sweat, the soreness, the soft pain. During the cool down, I realized how right she is. I survived. I might have drowned a towel from my sweat but I survived.

4. Black isn't the only color that will look good on me.

I used to have a wardrobe that consists of dark colors. It was a dark time in my life as well, I guess. I wasn't happy with how I looked, how heavy and sluggish I felt. I was on a no-carbs diet. It was all before my friend introduced me to my first Hiphop Abs video. It was life changing. As I gained strength and lost pounds, I became more confident in trying out a complete redo of my choice of clothes. My wardrobe turned into the rainbow (see here, here and here) , it was awesome.

5. Do things for yourself.

Working out wasn't for others to like me, to notice me (though that's a plus). I do it for myself. There are times when we don't see ourselves worthy of such great things. We usually put others' needs ahead of ours that we became last priority in our own lives. I see that as an imbalance. Loving others is only sustainably possible if you love yourself. Self love is making time for yourself, working to be the best version of who you can be, and being happy.

6. Lifting weights won't bulk you up.

Lifting weights usually have a bad impression for women but doing it on exercise sessions changed my mind. I use it to make certain sets harder since gravity is stronger when I'm holding weights. It trained me to be stronger, to push myself slowly.

7. You discover things.

When you do an activity consistently, the moves became more bearable that you have moments to look into what you're doing. You realize that certain exercise videos make you feel good, energized and helped you sweat. After working out, you tend to read more articles and watch more videos about exercise--something that will not involuntarily enter your mind if you don't exercise. Reading more about what you're doing teaches you a lot. You'll know more about the science behind your moves.

8. Fitting into store brought jeans feel good.

Enough said.

9. I don't get tired easily.

This is the best side effect of working out for me. I have asthma and it makes me have spurts of breathlessness whenever I climb steep staircases or when I hike up on an incline. Doing cardio and simple plyometrics helped my endurance and I can slowly see the improvement on my breathing even if I did a lot during the day.

10. Self awareness.

All the exercises I tried taught me this: how to be aware of myself--my body, my feelings, my thoughts. It made me aware of what's going on inside me as I do warrior III, what my tummy tells me when I do high knees, what thoughts enter my mind when I lie down in Savasana. Self awareness makes life more meaningful, inside and outside the 30-40 mins of working out. It made me look beyond my vanity, my health and into my being. It taught me to love and take care of my body because it marvels me on how it's so intricately designed that certain activities change it beautifully.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ally's All Day Breakfast

Good morning!

Breakfast is one of the best things on earth. It sets the mood for the next hours that you're awake and it's basically the READY, GET SET, GO! for your day. If I can have breakfast for dinner, then I will. And I did (just for a day, but still).

Of course I was with Fie for this. It's my first time in Maginhawa Eat Street and I have been raving about visiting this all-day breakfast food place for a few weeks now. Personal and work commitments get in the way of good food (hate it when that happens) so when we finally had the chance to visit, I cannot be happier.

We went to Maginhawa from Trinoma Mall via taxi. Fie asked the driver to use the V. Luna extension route. As I expected, it's quite easy to spot the different streets. After V. Luna, we turned left for Maginhawa and I welcomed myself to the array of food joints along the street. There are a lot! Ally's All-Day Breakfast is in Malingap Street so we turned another left for that. For the other food places, just continue driving straight.

Yey to Ally's All-Day Breakfast! :)

The place is pretty small, it looks like a part of the owner's home. But seeing how they organize everything (especially when there was an inflow of around 10 customers at once), they are maximizing what space they have for the guests. It was a good idea to come around dinner time since I think the merienda crowd already left.

Photos were a bit yellow-ish because of the lighting inside. It was late afternoon to night time when we visited, thus the strong yellow background :)

The service was quick and efficient! I love it, really. There are certain things you expect less from food joints that were built on a residential areas but in Ally's, the service is perfectly nice and fast.

Garden Fresh Omelette (120 pesos)
The Garden Fresh omelette was generously slathered with butter (I think) and mayo (which I slowly removed). The mayo was not needed for me since the egg was cooked just fine. They are soft and not salty. Inside were mushrooms and tomatoes.

The smoked bangus meal is a winner. Fie liked it (a huge compliment since he's a picky eater) and would gladly recommend it to everyone, like what I'm doing now :) It was perfectly cooked and the generous serving of the whole fish plus 2 eggs is a plus.

Smoked Bangus Meal (180 pesos)
Blueberries and Cream Pancakes (220 pesos)
The blueberries and cream pancakes is something very much unexpected. It was huge! Three layers of fat, scrumptious pancakes with a lot of blueberries and cream on top. This is good for 3 persons. So needless to say, we weren't able to finish the whole thing. :(

The morning after this, I was telling my mom and brother about this place. I was really happy with the service and food we got. I recommend this to everyone! :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project is probably one of the cutest stories I've read so far. The story was narrated in a detailed way, laid out as simply as possible, without trying to sound complicated. I love the morals I took with me after finishing this book.

Here's a little something from Mr. Simsion! :)

What did I learn? :)

1. It's a love story, I'll give you that. But it's just not a simple love story of a man and woman, meeting, dating, having a problem, breaking up, making up and getting married--the normal course of humans (and romance books). This is a story of how a man tries so much to deviate from what he feels to what he wants or what he thinks is better for him.

We all have those moments, don't we? We have a mindset that we adhere to, a goal that we think will make us happy. But that won't always be the case. Life screws us, in a good way. We turn out some place we never thought we'd be.

2. The lead character, Don, is a funny guy. Not the conventional comedian but he shows a level of social naivete that's funny. The lack of social experience helped him build the lack to respond to certain situations in an acceptable way. So even if we fall to our faces sometimes, there will come a day that you'll find the purpose for that fall. It's a complicated mindset but it's the one that makes most sense to me.

3. Fighting love is futile, accept it--risks and all.

4. I learned a lot of scientific fun facts. Examples are (a) the correlation of the size of a man's testicles and his tendency for polygamy, and (b) relationship of eye color and maternity/paternity. Don is a doctor of genetics so it's natural, in the story, for him to always refer back to the concept he knows the most--genes.

5. If we have a strong "why", the "how", no matter how hard, doesn't matter. Our actions need an intention, a strong one at that, so that we may endure whatever we have to go through to achieve what we want. It won't always be easy but nothing in life will be worth it or appreciated whole heartedly if it came too easily.

RATING: 4.5/5

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


After doing a walkathon inside the Mind Museum, we were starving. Mom and I went to our favorite food joint in The Fort, the healthy resto "Slice". Dad met us there for our well-earned merienda.

"A slice of the good life"--their tagline and a true testament to what they offer. I appreciate that they have started and maintained a site of their own. I love it when restos keep up with the times. So from their site: Slice, a brainchild of mom, triathlete, Senator and now, entrepreneur, Pia S. Cayetano, is the product of her “imagination, dreams, travels, food cravings and desire to share her passion for healthy eating albeit with the occasional indulgences.”

Entering the resto, you'll be greeted with a minimalistic yet colorful design that won't leave you bored. The food and the ambience has a homey vibe, something I hold important in visiting food places such as this. It's almost always full of people so it has an energetic pull on you to layback and smile.

Healthy muffins, available in several flavors.

Middle: Red Velvet (80 pesos for a piece of cupcake; 240 pesos for a whole cake)
Velvety and moist vibrant red cake with two kinds of rich cream cheese frosting.
Right: Double Choco Yema (70 pesos for a piece of cupcake; 240 pesos for a whole cake)
Dubbed as “Death by Choco Yema”, Slice signature yema between layers of moist chocolate cake then covered with sinfully decadent chocolate ganache.
I praise the heavens for their cupcakes! It's Slice's specialty. My personal favorite is their choco yema. Yema is mainly made of condensed milk and egg yolks. It's not too sweet yet every bite explodes in your mouth.

Rocky Road Specialty Coffee (130 pesos)
Playful mix of coffee, chocolate, chocolate chips, nuts and marshmallows.
This can be enjoyed either hot, cold or blended. Dad loves it hot, my whole family does. He was very happy with this. The coffee taste wasn't lost on all the chocolate--a good thing for coffee addicts.

Due Formaggio con Pesto Panini (150 pesos)
The pesto panini is to-die-for! I literally want to buy 7 of this to last me for a whole week. If that's too crazy, then maybe I'll just invest in a panini maker! :)

Aglio Olio (420 pesos)
Shrimp and salmon sauteed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil tossed in fresh gourmet aligue fettucini.
The Aglio Olio is their most impressive pasta dishes, for me anyway. They make their own noodles and you can just taste that it's not store brought. The ingredients are as fresh as they can be. I always add tons a dash of Tabasco hot sauce on my pasta (for spicy food lovers out there).

Left: Kalemonade Juice (150 pesos)
A Slice twist on a classic quencher, lemonade, kamote infused lemonade.
Right: Luscious Lychee Taho Slushee (150 pesos)
They really got it right with these drinks. Kalemonade tastes like a diluted raspberry drink. Diluted in a good sense, not in a tastes-like-water way. Luscious Lychee is a seasonal drink and it was a good thing we came when we did. It tastes like perfectly blended fruit with soy.

G/F Southeast block, Bonifacio High Street Central
7th Avenue corner 29th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

So, what's your comfort food?