Friday, October 31, 2008

Easy Chicken Tinola

Ingredients:
1 kilo chicken thighs (or any choice part)
1 piece sayote, sliced
1 bundle chili leaves (dahon ng sili)
1 tbsp. fish sauce (patis)
2 tablespoons ginger, julienned
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
6 cups water
2 tablespoons oil
about 1/3 Maggi Magic Sarap
salt and pepper to taste


In a casserole, heat oil and saute ginger and onion until soft. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for about 5 minutes in low fire. Season with patis and add the water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender. Add the sayote while and season with salt and pepper. When both sayote and chicken pieces are already tender (check with fork), remove from heat and add the chili leaves. Stir once or twice for the leaves to cook.


* Season the chicken with some salt minutes before you put it in the pot. Seasoning earlier will strip your chicken of moisture.

* Fresh garlic is the key to a savory tinola. But if you want a greater chicken taste, feel free to add a half or whole chicken cube.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Body Scrub for a Softer Skin

Intent on maintaining your youthful glow and super smooth skin? Have a complete body exfoliation in the hands of experts by getting a body scrub.

What to expect: a shower, a steam bath (to open those pores up) and then the body scrub itself. Expect arm pits and that area between your legs and magic region to be scrubbed as well. If you're not used to exfoliating or using body scrubs/sponges, this procedure might hurt. Or worse, ticklish.

And yes, you have to strip down to your birthday suit.

After the scrub, you'll have to shower again.

Costs vary from P700-1500, depending on where you go and what kind of scrub is used on you (basic salt scrub, tamarind, whitening, etc.).

The good thing about a body scrub is you also get a body massage of sorts, since the attendant will be scrubbing your entire body. Plus, it will get your circulation going so you'd really look glowing after.

Time special dates and meetings after, to capitalize on that glow!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Elegant Weddings 2008

Over 120 of the Philippines’ most respected wedding suppliers will be gracing this Yearend Wedding Fair at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel (Mandaluyong City, Philippines) on 29 – 30 November 2008.

EDSA Shangri-la Hotel shall feature their theme wedding set ups in their various function rooms (the better to give you an idea of what the hotel can offer!), and Themes & Motifs will officially introduce T&M Gifts, the Philippines' first gift registry portal (the better for you to get the gifts you want from your loved ones all over the world).

Free admission await soon-to weds who will pre-register here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby Steps in Going Green

Going green is all about saving the environment, a big part of which is reducing energy consumption and waste production. But a lot of people balk at the suggestion to go green, thinking that they are being expected to stop breathing to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Nothing that drastic, my dears.

Taking baby steps is the key. Changing one (bad) habit of ours can already impact the world to its betterment without our being aware of it.

Take for example, not letting water run while you're brushing your teeth. Maybe, if I tell you that you can save about 20,000 gallons of water a year (that's enough to fill a pool!) if you learn to turn your faucet off while brushing would inspire you to do just that.

One other thing is to not overstock, especially without noting and tracking the expiry dates on the products you purchased. This will save you money since it will limit the number of items you'd have to throw out monthly, and save your health too as you don't risk it from eating expired food. Another reason not to feel bad about not studying those insurance quotes more judiciously, surely?

I shall post more baby green steps in the coming days!

Thrice Disappointed

I was looking forward to the weekend, expecting to have a blast at the two convention/exhibits and the halloween thingie we were going to.

I shouldn't have bothered.

First, there was the WORLD OF CHINA EXHIBIT at the World Trade Center. Not sure if it was because it was running for almost a week then but there really wasn't much to see or interest someone at the exhibit. Shopping in Divisoria is more exciting, at least you get to see Nokia knock-offs (in the form of Nokla) and binge on Chinese food.

But yes, there were Crocs shoes and sandals being sold for P350 each (or 3 for P1000) but they only had limited stocks and colors. And yes, there were several exhibit booths selling exercise machines and herbal/organic stuff that supposedly helps one to lose weight.

It was interesting to watch a tea ceremony in real life, however, and the exhibit was free and you get canvas bags. And yes, they did set up a Great Wall there for photo opps. But still, it was truly a let down.

So we rushed to the SMX Convention Center for the Consumer Electronics thingie. Apart from seeing the latest models of Mac PCs and Nokia phones, the highlight of the exhibit would be watching photographers take pictures of a model who seemed to have been paid to pose all day and getting a free canvas bag from Philcopy. One other disappointment is that i've been to a few similar (and better) exhibits at Mega Trade Hall that cost me nothing while this cost me P50.

Sigh.

And then there's the Halloween Fun Craze at Alabang Town Center spearheaded by Kidsters, Inc. In retrospect, maybe I should have given into my misgivings when I was told that pre-registration is done there and then (sorry, but i've always thought pre-registration involves filling up an internet form or e-mails or calls are made to register BEFORE the event happens). I was also told that they'd be there from 10 AM to 5 PM.

So we got there at past 2 PM, I think, looking forward to loot bags at least for the effort we invested on our costumed kids (Lilo, Snow White and Tiger... and the tiger costume wasn't made for tropical weather!). Or at least, great photo opportunities. To our dismay, the event was set up on a non-air conditioned plaza and they were already awarding the costumed kids (winners, I think, were one dressed as a KAPRE and the other is an AXED LADY). But we were told that there'd be another batch of costume contest at 4 PM. The emcee announced it several times as well, that they were going to pick four other winners (most inventive, cutest, scariest and one other criteria) at 4 PM. The emcee also said that there's no pre-registration anymore in the afternoon. So our lot decided to give our kids a wardrobe change first and eat snacks... and just get back there at quarter to four.

We did just that. Imagine our shock then when we saw all the booths being dismantled and all the tables and chairs being taken away. They were packing up! And when we tried getting the organizers to explain, no one had an answer.

What a waste of an afternoon indeed! We could have gone to Powerplant instead... or baked cookies. Tsk.

So good luck to those attending the Halloween Fun Craze in Glorietta.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Exhibit Halls: A World of Possibilities

Thinking of where to go on weekends? Looking for business ideas or ways to add to your network? Looking for the latest innovations or professionals to hook up with? What about good bargains, discounts and freebies?

Check out the nearest exhibition hall from you for their calendar of events.

For World Trade Center Manila, here are some of the remaining events that may interest you:

October 23-26 - World of China

November
3 American Women's Club Monthly Bazaar
6-9 Taiwan Show and Technology Fair
7-9* Paskong Pilipino Shopping Expo
13 Trust Family Fair
15-16 Kapamilya Negosyo Fair
21-23 The Grand International Christmas Bazaar
22 Abba Concert
25 Salon Spectacular
26-30* Christmas Shop Expo/Noel Discovery Bazaar 2008
Christmas decors, novelty items, fashion acces., RTWs & etc.

December
2 American Women's Club Monthly Bazaar
5-16 World Bazaar Festival
18-21 OFW & Overseas Fair 2008
19-21 Christmas Shop Expo/Noel Discovery Bazaar 2008
19-26* Christmas year-ender Inventory Sale
28 Charity Bingo Fiesta


For the SMX Convention Center, here are the events of interest:

Philippine Fashion Week 08 October 22, 2008 - October 26, 2008
Consumer Electronics Live Manila 2008 October 24, 2008 - October 26, 2008
2nd Asian Computer and Consumer Electronics System Show (ACCESS 08) November 6, 2008 - November 9, 2008
PHILCONSTRUCT/PSVARE November 13, 2008 - November 16, 2008
Manila Auto Salon 2008 November 20, 2008 - November 23, 2008
Asian Business Expo November 28, 2008 - November 30, 2008
COMDDAP IT Expo December 4, 2008 - December 7, 2008
Christmas Treasures Expo December 5, 2008 - December 7, 2008

Practicality of HMOs

You often hear people complaining that the doctors they get from their HMOs are no good. Some are too quick to dispense prescriptions without throughly interviewing you first, or you get shunted from doctor to doctor (whoever is available), or you literally have to threaten them before they'd issue laboratory orders.

But maybe all that can be minimized by going for HMOs that do not promise much for so little. You get what you pay for, always remember that, and you have to keep in mind that health insurance is a business. So do not expect to only pay P5k and get the royal treatment.

This is not to say that you should settle for crappy service. But before enrolling in one, review the terms, compare it with other proposals or ideal setups (like maybe, ones like what NC health insurance offers). Is it too good to be true? In home tv shopping speak, are there way too many freebies? Read the fine print. Don't be enticed by extras that you don't really need (pap smears should be standard in a package for a woman in her 30s, but colonics are not). And be willing to pay good money.

Because, at the end of the day, having a health card does save us in medical emergencies. We don't always know when we'd be involved in a car accident or would require an appendectomy. Even the fittest and healthiest can suffer from dengue in our country. A good HMO will take care of the initial, if not all, part of our consultation and hospitalization bills. A bad one will require nurses to triple check, a representative to conduct interviews and make recommendations, a committee to approve, and the injured/sick to come up with deposits or advance payments (supposedly, to be reimbursed after two months or so).

Believe me, you don't want that kind of hassle on top of a medical emergency.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Win free passes to Consumer Electronics Live!

Thinking of where to bring your gadget-freak hubby? Win free passes to Consumer Electronics Live!

The event will be held for three days (October 24-26, 2008) at the SMX Convention Center bseide Mall of Asia. Get a chance to win Nokia and Samsung cellphones as well as a BOSE Sound Dock. Get discounts from Canon (up to 40%) and My Screen (up to 70%) purchases as well as freebies.

Eat Right

Before pouring over magazines and websites for diet pill reviews, make a list first of what you normally eat and crave for.

After doing so, identify which are healthy foods (those with actual nutrients) and which are actually just junk foods (no matter how 'fortified' or 'low fat' they claim to be). Replace the junk food with healthy food. Make this the first step to eating right and actually losing weight.

Do you crave chips for their crunch? Munch on cereals instead. Or nuts. Or fresh salads.

Love french fries? Cut potatoes in fry-sizes and bake them instead!

Love iced treats? Puree fruits instead and freeze, or make sorbets of them, or add them to yogurt.

Love sweets generally? Eat a lot of fruits and eat some dark chocolate instead (they're good for the heart too).

Use fruit jams/jellies or honey to sweeten desserts.

And make batches and batches of vegetable soup to eat with your meals. You can just reheat what you need for every mealtime and add fresh veggies and some meat to it. The soup will help you feel fuller sooner (aside from giving you that warm, comforted feeling that soups usually give to our tummies).

Keep at it over time and watch yourself start to lose weight brought about by too much fats, sodium and sugar in modern day eating. Then you can start to tone and lose more through exercise.

Good luck!

Digiscrapping Notes

Because this was originally part of a post of another title in another blog of mine, I decided to edit it some and post it here where it might be more helpful.

Some friends have taken up the challenge to digiscrap. I guess if you're a beginner like me, and intimidated by Photoshop like me, here are a few pointers that could prove very useful:

1) You only need internet really to download kits, and maybe upload your pictures. And since kits are usually big files, dial-up connections would suck.

2) But when you're obssessed about getting better, learning more, or getting a kit for free, you can also join chat sessions (they usually announce the date and time in their message boards and newsletters).

3) If you're just starting out and not yet an addict, get the most out of FREEBIE offerings. ShabbyPrincess.Com and Scrapbookflair.com are great sites to start downloading from as these offer complete kits with alphas (letters in .png format), elements, papers, etc. already. Go through the top Digital Freebie Sites if you have to so you can also check out TUTORIALS and actual LAYOUTS as well as register for the FORUMS. You also try ikeagoddess.blogspot.com

4) If you don't know sh!t about Photoshop, do what I did... I printed tutorials. Of course, some tutorials prefer certain PS versions. And yes, you can also use Paint Shop Pro or Corel Draw and some sites offer tutorials for them too. Make Google Search your friend.

5) When I say you're downloading big files, think HUGE. Usual paper size is more than 1 mb. That's because you want to preserve the quality of every element. Best to use pictures of the same size too (even if you're going to resize them).

6) Have them printed if you want. That was my main motivation to learn it, and i've had several printed and they're all cute. Unfortunately, there are some minor discrepancies between a digital 5x7 to a picture of the same size (5R) but it's ok, you'll learn your lesson soon enough.

7) Consider fancy fonts to embellish your layout. Think Dings but only install those you think you can really use (sooner or later, you'll be confident enough to transform the dings into PNG format and then delete the font from your font folder). Or you can also just install/load them when you need them. The same is true for brushes.

8) Installing so many fonts can be fun, but it will reduce loading time for fonts. In time, you may have to download and install a font manager. Or maybe you can just limit your font options to fonts you know you'd use time and again (I love Lainie Day, beautiful, jane austen and calvin n hobbes), and just install-delete special fonts you'd only use for a time.

9) You'd need a lot of space. Freebie kits and embellishments alone can already take up 1-2 gigs, what more your own layouts. Kits burned in CDs should still be saved in your hard drive, otherwise it will delay your PC's processing time.

10) Don't be scared of making mistakes. The good thing about Photoshop is it has this History column at your right where you can easily return to where you were before you committed the mistake. Do try the different filters. There's no other way to make you feel less intimidated. Save the .psd file before saving in jpeg format.

11) Have and take lots of pictures. But when modifying your pictures, do not save changes when you're closing the file so you perserve the original (or save modified versions as a different file).

12) Have fun. Be honest with your sentiments (journalling). Feel free to fuss and be mushy. Feel free to be wacky.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Year-end Vacation

Take advantage of the yearend Holidays and your Christmas bonus by investing on something no one can take away from you and which will revive you, and enrich your marriage or family as it allows for bonding time. I am talking, of course, of vacations and cruises you can take especially if you're a Filipino living in the Philippines. Why?

Because it would really be unwise of you not to take advantage of your leave credits and use them for the last week or so of the year. If you're lucky (or charming!), you can have around 10-12 days of vacation bliss if you time your leaves appropriately. Here's a hint: December 25 falls on a Thursday and December 26 has already been declared a non-working holiday (in exchange for December 24, I believe). December 30 is a Holiday too.

So do your research now and save for a great vacation to finish off the year. Am sure, nothing beats pondering the highlights and lowlights of the year that was while taking in the sun and sea somewhere.

Cheaper Bikes and Accessories

Sure, we'd all love to own Harleys and have the money for Harley parts when our big bikes break down. But we don't always have the money for these branded stuff. And some things about big bikes do not always have to come branded. We can settle for cheaper stuff without sacrificing our safety and level of cool.

Head to the Raon area of Quiapo. Not only are bike parts sold there (even the brand-name ones), accessories like padded jackets and helmets also are. Even gloves. Get spare helmets cheap instead of letting your partner or friend or date ride without one. A good bargain is something that you KNOW (not HOPE) will protect you. The idea is to get the necessary stuff cheaper... not dirt-cheap. After all, you also get what you pay for and one should always pay a good price for anything affecting one's safety.

Immigrate to Canada

Despite the recession happening worldwide, there is still hope for all those who are dreaming or planning a life abroad. After all, companies may still be hiring one professional for every two or three employees they have to let go. And the caregiving industry is as lucrative as ever in recruiting.

So in case you need information or help to go to Canada, visit my friend's Canada Visa Application Online Resource.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Party Giveaways: Venue for Promotional Materials

Parties where giveaways are common, say, a birthday, are a great venue for those who want to distribute promotional materials to reach target buyers.

For example, sachets of Skeeter Guard patches can be included in the loot bags (sans the leaflet, of course). The promotion wouldn't be too in-your-face and the parents are likely to use it because it was included in something given away by someone they knew and trusted.

It goes without saying, of course, that hosts should only include stuff they believe in with the loot bags, so this advertising option isn't really open for everyone. Still, this is a great gimmick to dispose of those sachets and packets your company spends on that will really reeach your intended market.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fringe: addiction-worthy TV series

Fringe is the latest series from Fox and it's must-watch.

BUT... maybe it's only for those with inner-geeks, geeks and sci-fi freaks.

It's CSI and X-Files and Heroes (especially with those lovely place names) and Utopia combined. Or yeah, maybe also X-Men? The first two episodes feel like a movie already, and yes, there is some drag with the pacing sometimes, but overall, I can see this series succeeding. Plus, Walter Bishop beats Dr. House in eccentricity without being offensive (maybe because he's a lovely old man who suffered in an asylum for 17 years?).

Watch it, guys.

Superferry Tripid

Superferry is making more people happy again with their discounted rates. Take advantage of the reduced ferry fares that already include fuel, meal, and security fees.

Selling dates (buy period):October 13 – 24, 2008
Sailing dates (travel period):November 1 – December 10, 2008

Manila to Visayas & vice versa
(Bacolod, Cebu, Coron, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa & Tagbilaran)
Super/Mega :P599
Tour/Business:P999
Cabin:P1199
State/Suite:P2998


Manila to Mindanao & vice versa
(Butuan, Cagayan, Cotabato, Davao, Dipolog, Gensan, Iligan, Ozamis, Surigao and Zamboanga)
Super/Mega :P899
Tour/Business:P1299
Cabin:P1499
State/Suite: P3498

Purchase your tickets here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween Costume Fill-Ins

Can't afford to rent or buy so many Halloween costumes for your baby?

Can't afford or don't want to bother with studio shots?

Want pictures of your tot in costume, however? Well, Scrappin Alikat saves the day with her Costume Face Fillins series (all free!!!). Choose among bunnies and butterflies, cat and lion and zebra and devil and monkey and lamb and many more!

Now you can even just use available pictures you have :) Enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sony Ericsson World View Photo Contest

Sony Ericsson is holding a photo contest (World View 2008). Terms and conditions of the contest can be found here. The contest will accept only photographs taken using a MOBILE PHONE. Deadline of submissions is on 31 October 2008.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Tips and Tricks Blog

I know of so many others who are trying to come up with a blog idea or theme which they hope to monetize someday. I always suggest that they consider a tips and tricks blog, much like this one, or Jsprik's weblog (who's keen on blogging about products and ideas). See, all of us grew up and know little bits of information that have been tried and tested that are also helpful.

I know of a site where visitors are encouraged to submit their own tips... but the traffic generated goes to that site. Might as well post what you know in your own blog, right? Who knows, you may even build on a following.

Start small. Blog about what you really know (money, real estate, weight loss, parenting) and expand on those later (with photography, advertising, etc.). Blog about your passions, or something your mother was passionate and had much to say about. You don't have to cover all the bases but you do have to be credible and cosnsitent.

Trust that if what you write are any good, readers will come.

Skeeter Guard

Skeeter Guard is a Peel-stick Patch that does not require skin contact. You can just stick it on your child's clothes or on a table and crib and it will still be one effective mosquito repellent. This way, you need not be concerned about your baby's skin reacting to the lotion or spray that most repellents come in the form of.

Skeeter Guard is also all natural and Deet Free.

Contact exclusive Philippine distributor is Corsan's Pharmacare to stock up or resell:

CORSAN'S PHARMACARE
142 Capetown St.
Pasig Greenpark Village
Manggahan, Pasig City
(632) 645-8094/682-1596
corsanspharmacare@gmail.com
Concon Cordova - 0922-8149008

A box of 10 costs P175 (surely, P17.50 is a cheap price to pay for being mosquito-free for 12 hours?). They also ship (with a P50 charge via Xend Express) orders and are exhibiting in a lot of the Christmas bazaars happening in the metropolis.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Shelves, More Space

Got extra money to spend on your home? Consider new shelves and racks.

And no, I don't mean that you should just buy more and more and more until there is no more floor space to walk on. But as you accummulate junk and stuff, and as you throw or give away some of your possessions, and as your needs and preferences and lifestyles change, so should your organizational units.

Football trophies that once occupied TV shelf space may have to give way to new pictures, or vice versa. Or you may have to get a separate cabinet just for those. You may even start considering floor-to-ceiling shelves, not only to create height, but also to house all your books and CDs. New shelves may even be called for to accommodate modern gadgets with their less bulky designs and twice as many cables/paraphernalia.

So always be in the lookout for moe efficient shelves that suit your needs. And yes, do consider having old ones refurbished and revamped to serve the same purpose.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Get More in Las Vegas

Because Las Vegas, in general, is a favorite destination year-round by all (kids and adults alike, gay and bi and straight, married and not, etc.), Las Vegas hotels have made it their priority to offer more aside from the lodgings business. Some of these hotels offer shows, fountains, light shows, plays, concerts and amusement centers (or free/discount tickets to these) with their welcome drinks and complimentary breakfasts. Some even offer free transportation.

Just do your research and compare prices. Do not be easily enticed by so much freebies since they might not be ones you really need or want. If you're honeymooning, ask for honeymooners' incentives like a better suite, free champagne, or seats in a show.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gift for the Hubs

Thinking of a gift for the husband for Christmas?

Hoping he'd also be a little more organized with his stuff?

Hit two birds with one stone and gift him with organizational tools in the form of shelves and cabinets and other storage devices. Give him a power steering rack for your garage, or floating shelves for his toy collectibles, or cabinets for all his gadgets and cables. At least you can say, you were thinking of his passion/hobby when you thought of the gift. Just find a cool CD rack or design one yourself so he wouldn't think you were suggesting his stuff was out of control. Get them in cool colors and funky designs. Get modern ones for their clean lines and to save more space. Get multi-functional ones.

And you indirectly gift yourself with extra space or less clutter.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Harry Potter Party - Moving Paintings

One of the elements from the Harry Potter book series that you can incorporate in your kid's party is the moving paintings bit. Of course, one does not always have the means to rent/pay for a digital signage at your child's party but there is another technology you can utilize.

Rent, borrow or buy your own digital photo frames. Just consolidate all the pictures (or edited images) you want to showcase and save it in an SD card and plug the digital frame for all to enjoy. Cheaper and quality versions are cropping up everywhere. Now, you also need not be bothered by finding or renting a whole screen just to play all the pictures you took of your baby (and trust me, not all guests want to be bombarded by such big pictures the entire time the party's ongoing).

Plus, these digital frames can spice up a dessert bar or buffet without being too visible as to take away from the main elements. Enjoy!

Buy A Size Bigger

Thinking of giving baby clothes as gifts, to a baptism or birthday perhaps? Make sure to buy one size bigger and always, better assume that the child is big rather than average, especially if you haven't seen the baby for awhile.

See, people often buy the tiniest of outfits especially when they know that a baby is only a few months old but parents often don't end up using these teeny clothes much because a baby usually doubles or triples its size in its first year. Plus, boys/men wear big shirts, regardless of age so even baby boys look cuter in shirts a size bigger.

Halloween Fun Craze I and II

Brought to you by Kidsters, Inc.

Start: Oct 26, '08 10:00p
Location: Alabang Town Center

The whole family will get to enter a FUN village... Lots of freebies and activities await kids 12 years old and below who will come in costume! :)

Activities:

1. Arts and Crafts Session for Kids
2. Face Painting
3. Games
4. Trick or Treat
5. Costume Contest
6. Interactive Booths (sampling/ selling/ leafleting etc.)
7. Snack demo
8. Variety Show (Song and Dance Number)
9. Magic Show
10. Mascot Showdown

...and a whole lot more!!!

This event is for FREE, but pre-registration is a MUST. So be at the ACTIVITY CENTER OF ALABANG TOWN CENTER (ATC) at exactly 10AM. :)


Start: Oct 31, '08 10:00am
Location: Activity Center of Glorietta

The whole family will get to enter a FUN village... Lots of freebies and activities await kids 12 years old and below who will come in costume! :)

Activities:

1. Arts and Crafts Session for Kids
2. Face Painting
3. Games
4. Trick or Treat
5. Costume Contest
6. Interactive Booths (sampling/ selling/ leafleting etc.)
7. Snack demo
8. Variety Show (Song and Dance Number)
9. Magic Show
10. Mascot Showdown

...and a whole lot more!!!

This event is for FREE, but pre-registration is a MUST. So be at the ACTIVITY CENTER OF GLORIETTA, MAKATI CITY at exactly 10AM. :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chocolate Lover has increased prices

Wednesday last week, my husband and I shopped for baking supplies at Chocolate Lover (over at P. Tuazon).

I realized we needed more supplies for what my SIL wanted to do so I returned there yesterday and I saw their clerks restacking the supplies after changing the prices. For sprinklers and such, it's between a P1-P2 increase but blocks of chocolate (say, the 1-kilo dark sweetened ones) showed at least P10-20 increase.

Yikes.

I'm not sure if this is Halloween and Christmas-driven or because of the tarnished China milk business but at least you can't say you weren't warned.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Colored Sugar

Colored sugar is a baking wonder, used to embellish cookies and cupcakes with without having the sugar burn or melt. I was, however, aghast that it was selling for around P137 at Chocolate Lover (container size is slightly taller than McCormick spices).

Good thing though that they're only selling for P30 a tub at Makro. Of course, not all Makro outlets may have them (or as many different colors to choose from).

They're particularly wonderful when they're slightly 'burnt' with the cookie dough because they taste like cotton candy.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Food Orders from Honey's Catering

If you're looking for a supplier to order food from for celebrations and special occasions, especially those from the South (specifically, the Paranaque area), do consider Honey's Catering.

Honey’s Catering
Your Value for Money Catering Service
Annex 35 Better Living Subdivision, ParaƱaque City
8236465 (Telefax) / 7766668
Look for LADY RAMIREZ

Their bestsellers include:

Stew Beef Ribs
50 pax - Php 4,500.00
25 pax - Php 2,750.00
20 pax - Php 2,200.00
10 pax - Php 1,100.00

Spicy Chicken (grilled)
50 pax - Php 4,000.00
20 pax - Php 1,720.00

Fish Fillet with Tartar sauce
50 pax - Php 5,000.00
20 pax - Php 2,200.00

Chapchae (Korean Pancit)
Large (50 pax) - Php 2,100.00
Medium (20-25 pax) - Php 1,400.00
Small (10 pax) - Php 700.00

Kimchi Appetizer
1 kilo - Php 170.00


They do not have delivery rates yet because patrons usually get the food from their house or from their stall at Shangri-La Mall (food court). Feel free to come up with arrangements with them.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cakes by Alex Franco

Alex Franco is popular in the wedding industry circle because he specializes in wedding cakes, with all layers edible, and cake embellishments used are real fruits and flowers.

I first tasted his cake at a wedding, and I immediately became obsessed (to think it was really only a sliver of cake that I managed to taste). But alas, his wedding cake rates were a little steep and I couldn't ask my future groom outright that i'd love to get him for our wedding. And fate also intervened by allowing us to win a cake from renowned cake artist, Judy Uson.

Anyway, other cake makers can indeed embellish and design their cakes wonderfully, adapting to a couple's motiff. But I seriously have yet to taste a cake that is more delicious than Alex Franco's (and mind you, I am not so easily pleased!). Eating a slice of one of his cakes is like snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, or seeing the sun rise at Machu Picchu, or getting a good bargain at a St. Barts villa rentals. In short, evey slice is pure heaven.

So it's really a great thing that Alex Fanco sells cakes too, for those who are not getting wed at all or anymore.

His current prices are:
9 inch cake - P600
10 inch = P900
12 inch = P1,800
16 inch = P4,000

The favorite flavor is called MIXED (not sure if it's the Black and White one referred to in wedding circles) which basically contains a layer of chocolate cake and a different-flavored other layer (go for prune walnut or walnut caramel) aside from the mango and chocolate mousse fillings.

He could be contacted via telefax (632) 533-1450 or cell (63) 0917-2769003. Order a week before you need the cake. And no, he doesn't deliver for such orders. The most is he'd meet you up at the Caltex Station at the Boni/EDSA area (beside 7-11).





Oh, his cakes are best served frozen so if you don't have enough freezer space for the leftovers, you'd have to deal with a somewhat collapsing cake once the mango and mousse have started to soften. At worst, you'd be eating a slightly gooey cake but it would still taste great. But his cakes are really meant to be eaten when the mango and mouse fillings are still frozen :)

Oh and the cake is admittedly on the expensive side, but if you take into consideration how delicious every bite of it is (and trust me, the cake IS heavy), you'd realize that there are more overpriced cakes out there (Cheesecake, etc is an example, and i've never liked their cheesecake). And the cakes are always made up of several layers of goodness and richness so it's actually worth two cakes, at least (see picture above to have an idea of how tall the cake is).

Alex Franco is worth your money. Trust me!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fun Newsletters

Newsletters can bear more than news, they are also a great form of promotional items, where you can write different articles around your product or event, even including real or fake interviews as well as real or fake news. They can also add that extra touch of personalization to the usual greeting cards during Holidays, or at weddings and birthdays.

Here's one way I used the newsletter format. I made my own Daily Prophet issues featuring my son and embellishing on the 'articles' while channeling Harry Potter. I first intended to make twelve different ones, to cover milestones and stories for each month of his life, but my superpowers couldn't hack it. Still, those who have seen the paper all found it 'cool' and 'inspired'.



Thinking of a unique Save-The-Date? Make one in newsletter format! It's also a great way to recap/summarize the highlights of your year and can easily be distributed via e-mail (saved in .pdf format, of course) to friends and family.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Klasrum Adarna: Science Lecture Series

got this in my e-mail...

=====================================

KLASRUM ADARNA: SCIENCE LECTURE SERIES
Date and Time: November 8, 2008 – 9am to 4pm
UP Balay Internasyonal, Guerrero corner Dagohoy Sts, UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City

Scheduled Lectures:
Play Science: Toys, Experiments, Field Trips - 9:00am – 10:30am
Science should be fun and interesting! Encourage your students to learn through different activities that will make them look forward to your next Science class. Learn about toys you can use to teach facts, how to do amazing experiments, and where to go for enjoyable field trips which your students will love.

Storytelling and Science - 10:30am – 12:00nn
Spark your students’ interest in Science through wonderful stories! Help students better understand difficult concepts. Be surprised at how they can easily recall information shared to them through children’s literature. Learn about books you can use from Grades 1 to 6 to teach Science through storytelling.

Teach and Advocate - 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Encourage students to be environmentally aware through classroom activities and school events. Find out how to plan and execute an environmental initiative. Learn how to get students to actively participate. Develop fresh ideas for school environmental campaigns and discuss with fellow science teachers how these can be implemented in school.

Be Involved! - 3:00 – 4:00pm
Get to know Greenpeace, an environmental NGO active in various campaigns to protect the environment. Learn more about how some schools have supported them in some of their initiatives. Be inspired by how passion and volunteerism has shaped Greenpeace as an organization.

These lectures shall be facilitated by topnotch educators from prestigious learning institutions in the Philippines: UP National Institute of Geological Sciences and Institute of Environmental Sciences, UP Integrated School, and The Raya School. Greenpeace South East Asia will be present to cap the lecture series.

The lecture will be held at UP Balay Internasyonal, located at Guerrero corner Dagohoy Streets, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The registration process is as follows:
- Fee: Php 750 (Regular) / Php 650 (Early Registration or Group)
- Registration Guidelines:
1. Send us the name, e-mail address, landline, and mobile number of the participant through vanessa@adarna.com.ph, or by calling 3723548 local 110.
2. The early registration fee would apply to those who register and pay on or before October 27, 2008. This lower rate will also apply to group registrations (with 3 or more participants).
3. Participants may deposit their payments to the company bank account (BPI Kamuning Branch, Acount Name: Adarna House Inc., Account Number 3141-0715-39)
4. Bank deposit slips should be labeled with participant’s name and faxed to 372-35-48 loc 115.
5. An official receipt will be issued to the participant during the workshop.
6. Only a maximum of 40 participants will be accommodated.
The workshop fee is inclusive of meals, snacks, books, and materials to be used for the whole day.
If you have questions or further inquiries, you may reach us through 372-35-48 loc 110 or through vanessa@adarna.com.ph.


Visit www.adarna.com.ph for regular updates.

Pudding Chillers

Recipe from "Jell-O Brand Collection", one of the many Amazon books I own.

Image from Amazon

Ingredients:
2 cups cold milk
1 package (4-serving size) Jell-O Instant Pudding and Pie Filling, any flavor
6 (5-ounce) paper cups


POUR milk into medium bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes. Spoon into cups. Insert wooden popsicle stick into each to serve as handle.

FREEZE five hours or overnight until firm. To remove pop from cup, place bottom of cup under warm running water for 15 seconds. Press firmly on bottom of cup to release pop. Do not twist or pull pop stick.

Makes six pops.


Rocky Road variation
Use Jell-O Chocolate flavored pudding and pie filling and add 1/2 cup mini marshmallows and 1/4 cup EACH semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped peanuts.

Toffee Crunch variation
Use Jell-O Vanila Flavored pudding and pie filling and stir in 1/2 cup chocolate-covered toffee bars.

Cookies and Cream variation
Use Jell-O Vanila Flavored pudding and pie filling and stir in 1/2 cup chopped chocolate sandwich cookies.

Mocha variation
Use Jell-O Vanila Flavored pudding and pie filling and stir in 1/2 cup mocha-flavored chocolate chips.


* Jell-O Instant Pudding and Pie Fillings can be bought in major groceries (just look closely at the Jell-O boxes and pay attention that you don't end up buying gelatin mixes)
** Mocha-flavored chocolate chips can be bought at Chocolate Lover or other baking supplies shop

Lose Weight with Metformin

Lose weight with Metformin? What, is Metformin a diet pill?

Actually, no. Metformin is a drug that actually helps diabetics with their blood sugar. However, people do not always know that they are diabetics already, and some could be exercising and dieting without ever achieving positive results because of the chemical imbalance that is diabetes.

This is where Metformin comes in. If it turns out that the person is diabetic, or in the case of women, if they have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), a regular dose of Metformin may help them lose weight. How so? Basically, by correcting the chemical imbalance brought about by blood sugar problems, your body can now respond accordingly (that is, burn more calories and adjust caloric requirement) to the dieting and exercising you're doing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rehabs and Kids

It seems like the norm now for young celebrities. Everyone is checking in a drug rehab and it has become so common, one would think it's similar to a trip to the dentist.

And where celebrities go, our teeners are wont to follow. So how do we help them escape the clutches of an alcohol rehab?

It may sound old but the following tips have been tried and tested, despite whatever cultural and technological changes we have gone through:

1) Eat family dinners with them. Such dinners allow parents to keep their kids posted as to what happened to them that day and vice versa. The conversations may sound mundane and trivial but it allows children to practice communicating with their parents. Plus, its a family ritual that cannot help but give kids a sense of belongingness, even in those times that he may hate his family or circumstance.

2) Give them responsibilities. Give them chores. Let them know that their tuition and hobbies take away from the family budget. Demand that they watch for their brother's/sister's back and that its their duty to preserve and protect the family honor. The chores will keep them busy and the other things will teach them about consideration. They have to know that what they do and don't do affects the family. Of course, it goes without saying not to overdo things. You want to teach them that they're part of the family and must contribute to it, and not to grow up without having a sense of self.

3) Limit guests. There's play time and then there are other times. And guests can mean actual people who may take your kids away from doing their chores or pouring over their assignments but guests can also mean whatever form of media, sports or hobby they're into. Sure, your kids can pursue their hobbies as much as they want, but never at the expense of family time and traditions, and certainly never at the expense of their health (proper diet and rest). Besides, too much media for the very young (think TV and computer games and the internet, especially if unsupervised) is inviting commercialism and superficialism into your home.

4) Take trips with them. Trips can mean a trip to the grocery, where you can teach them about budgeting money and buying quality products without shoving it down their throats. Or a trip to the zoo for some environmental and cause-effect talk. Or out-of-town to bond over traffic and cramped quarters. Or abroad to immerse yourselves in a different culture. Travel brings out the best and worst in someone, and doing it together can be stressful... but it's the good kind of stress.

5) Say NO and delay their gratification. Kids, especially nowadays, have things more easily, literally. But this has just resulted in them getting bored all the more easily too. Make them work for privileges. Make them earn their desserts. Not only will they savor those more (be it an Ipod or an extended curfew), but you'd also be providing one more opportunity for them to actually take control of things they can control.

6) Be an example. You can't teach your kids not to smoke if they see you doing it. You can't teach them about bravery and self-respect and earning your keep and living a life of integrity if you don't live it yourself. Be the person you hope they'd want to become.

7) LAMBILOS. In Filipino, its an acronym for three things: lambing (sweetness, gentleness and thoughtfulness), biro (humor) and haplos (touch and/or connect). Supposedly, it not only expedites recovery from medical illnesses, it also facilitates other forms of healing (say, emotionally). Basically, be gentle and considerate, laugh at anything and everything where appropriate and always touch/connect with your child (in the form of actual hugs and kisses, as well as pats on the back or written notes or everyday text messages)... and the chances of him/them being led astray will be pretty slim.

Another Digiscrapping Program

Let's face it, Photoshop isn't exactly that easy to learn and use. But yes, once you get the hang of it, it's really the most versatile program I can think of when you want to design things.

But what if you want to digiscrap your own layouts but don't really have the time or patience to learn Photoshop? Well, maybe you should invest and use Scrapbook Factory instead. It is very easy to use, more like a drag and drop thingie actually and it already provides templates and elements (pictures) to use for embellishment in your layouts.
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